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The purpose of the present investigation was to investigate the relationship between goal proximity and performance. Goal setting was used as a motivational technique for enhancing physical performance of adolescents with behavior disorders. Subjects (N = 80) were randomly assigned to one of two goal-setting conditions: (a) long-term goals and (b) short- plus long-term goals. After a 3-week baseline period, subjects were tested on a 1-min sit-up task once a week for 10 weeks. Results indicated that the short- plus long-term group exhibited the greatest increase in performance, although the long-term group also displayed significant improvements. Results are discussed in reference to Locke and Latham’s (1985) approach to goal setting. In addition, several methodological and theoretical aspects are discussed that are particularly relevant to the use of goal setting with physical activity tasks among persons with disabilities such as behavior disorders.
Michael Bar-Eli, Ilan Hartman, and Noa Levy-Kolker are with the Ribstein Center for Research and Sport Medicine Sciences, Wingate Institute, Netanya 42902, Israel.