Motivation and Emotion

, Volume 30, Issue 2, pp 169–176

Goal orientation, task difficulty, and task interest: A multilevel analysis


  • Michael Horvath
    • Clemson University
  • Hailey A Herleman
    • Clemson University
    • Clemson University
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s11031-006-9029-6

Cite this article as:
Horvath, M., Herleman, H. & Lee McKie, R. Motiv Emot (2006) 30: 169. doi:10.1007/s11031-006-9029-6


We studied whether goal orientation affects the relationships that task difficulty and interest have with self-set goals. Using a sample of 499 undergraduate students who listed grade goals for their classes, we employed Hierarchical Linear Modeling to explain differences in the extent to which difficulty and interest related to goals. Higher goals were set for more interesting and easier classes, and for individuals higher in mastery goal orientation and for those lower in performance-avoidance orientation (at average levels of interest and difficulty). Furthermore, performance-approach and performance-avoidance orientations reduced and strengthened (respectively) the effects of task difficulty on self-set goals, and the buffering effect of mastery orientation was marginally significant.


goalsgoal orientationperceived difficultytask interestmultilevel analysisHLM

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006