Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Chris Koronakos

Second Advisor

Dr. Malcolm Robertson

Third Advisor

Dr. Robert Travers

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access



Psychologists generally assume that the motive to achieve is one of the major determinants to striving to succeed. A theoretically consistent body of data exists which enables one to predict achievement behavior as a function of the strength of the achievement motive, when it applies to men (Atkinson, 1958; Bardwick, 1971; McClelland, Atkinson, Clark, & Lowell, 1953). However, when one attempts to find psychological data to predict achievement behavior in women, there is difficulty.

The few comparable studies of achievement motivation in females that have been made are neither consistent with the findings for males, not even consistent with each other. In Atkinson's Motives in Fantasy, Action, and Society (1958, p.77), women occupy only a footnote (the book is over 800 pages long) in which Atkinson says that the performance differences between the sexes is "perhaps the most persistent unresolved problem in research on need achievement." In The Achieving Society (1961(, McClelland makes no mention of achievement motivation in women, even though he deals with a comprehensive survey of evidence for motive to achieve, for example, Ancient Greeks, Quakers, Indians and doodles in children's books. Heckhausen (1967), in The Anatomy of Achievement Motivation, added only a handful of new studies based on female subjects. Of the 215 pages in his book, 9 deal with sex differences.