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This study investigated the effects of goal setting, self-efficacy, competition, and personality on the performance of a sit-up task. Prior to testing, participants were administered the Sport Orientation Questionnaire (SOQ; Gill & Deeter, 1988). Using a 2 × 2 + 1 design, 60 participants were randomly assigned to one of four conditions: (a) competition, medium goal; (b) competition, high goal; (c) no competition, medium goal; and (d) no competition, high goal. A fifth group from the same population (n = 15) was added and served as the do-best comparison group. The main effect of goal level was borderline significant (p < .059), and this effect was fully mediated by personal goal level and self-efficacy. Also, both the medium and hard goal groups significantly outperformed the do-best group. Competition did not affect performance, personal goals, commitment, or self-efficacy. The SOQ was significantly related to performance, but its effects were fully mediated by personal goals and self-efficacy.
Bart S. Lerner is with the Department of Sport Behavior at West Virginia University, P.O. Box 61 16, Morgantown, WV 26506. Edwin A. Locke is with the College of Business and Management at the University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742.