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Session Overview
PAP-06: Self-Determined Motivation in University
Time: Tuesday, 28/Aug/2012: 3:30pm - 5:00pm
Session Chair: Barbara Hanfstingl, University of Klagenfurt
Location: 251


Differences in basic psychological needs of university students

Valeria A. Negovan

University of Bucharest, Romania, Romania

The study aims to investigate the relationships between the university students’ basic psychological needs and their level of personal growth initiative, proactive attitude, perception of autonomy in life and learning experience (year of study).

Participants in the research were 550 university students at the Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, Bucharest, Romania, 270 in the 1st year and 280 in the 2nd year of studies, 478 females and 72 male, aged 18 to 58 years (M=24,64, SD = 7.40). Data were collected with four self-rating questionnaires assessing the approached constructs. The main assumption of the research was that the students’ basic psychological needs are strongly associated with their involvement in developing as a person, with their belief in their potential to improve oneself and with their perception of autonomy in life and that these variables will interact with the students’ learning experience in order to differentiate comprehensible patterns of their psychological needs. Correlational analyses revealed that the measured characteristics are significantly positively related with the needs for autonomy and competence (r=.45 to .65, p < .001) and negatively with the need for relatedness (r= -.29 to -.48, p < .001). Multivariate analysis of variance identified two patterns of basic psychological needs according to the presumed interactions [F (2, 484) = from 2.62 to 22.15, p = from < .001 to .04, partial eta squared from .02 to .20]. The research’s results will be discussed from the perspective of their contribution to the development of counseling programs in the university environment.

Does the quality of dispositional motives matter for an autonomous versus controlled motivation and effective learning strategies?

Aikaterini Michou1, Elias Matsagouras1, Willy Lens2

1University of Athens, Greece; 2University of Leuven

Motive dispositions instigate people in wanting certain types of natural incentives more than other types and this match of “wanting” and “having” lead to optimal human functioning (Sheldon & Schuler, 2011). Indeed, as Sheldon and Cooper (2008) have recently shown, the motive of need for achievement relates to autonomous motivation which in turn relates, among others, to higher well-being. In the present research, we investigated not only the relation of need for achievement but also the relation of fear of failure with autonomous versus controlled motivation and additionally, the relation of both motive dispositions and autonomous versus controlled motivation with students’ learning strategies and cheating. In two studies with Greek (Study 1) and Belgian (Study 2) university students (N = 440; 90.9% females and N = 283; 47% females, respectively), we found through SEM analysis that need for achievement was positively related only to autonomous motivation whereas fear of failure was positively related only to controlled motivation, giving support to the proposition that motive dispositions instigate individuals’ certain types of incentives. Concerning the learning outcomes, need for achievement related positively, either directly or via autonomous motivation, to learning strategies, whereas fear of failure related negatively, either directly or via controlled motivation, to learning strategies and positively to cheating. These findings give some evidence that the relation of fear of failure with controlled motivation doesn’t lead to optimal learning functioning and, from this point of view, the quality of motive disposition revealed as a decisive aspect of students’ motivation in learning.

Motivational profiles and academic commitment in French university students


1University of Lille North of France - Lille 3, France; 2anakkale Onsekiz Mart Üniversitesi - Çanakkale, Türkiye

This study investigated the relationship between academic motivation and academic commitment in French university students. According to Self-Determination Theory (SDT, Deci & Ryan, 1985, 2002), motivational implications in academic commitment were explored. The three-dimensional model of academic commitment was applied (Brault-Labbé & Dubé, 2010). This model characterizes the academic commitment with three dimensions: affective (enthusiasm), behavioral (perseverance) and cognitive (ability to reconcile positive and negative aspects of commitment). The aim of this study was to clarify the links between academic motivation and academic commitment, with an alternative statistical method.

217 French university students were recruited, with a mean age of 20.49 (SD= 3.67). The motivation was assessed with the academic motivation scale (Vallerand et al., 1992). Academic commitment was evaluated with the academic commitment scale (Brault-Labbé & Dubé, 2010). Cluster analysis on academic motivation was chosen because it allows to bound natural groupings within data and to determine motivational profiles within the sample of the study. Then, ANOVA was performed in order to compare these groups with distinct motivational profiles on their commitment scores.

First, results revealed that the different forms of motivation are significantly associated to global academic commitment scores and their subscales. Second, cluster analysis results have supported a solution in three motivational profiles. In final, different relationships of these motivational profiles with academic commitment and subscales were found. These results allowed to confirm the role of motivation in academic commitment, and induced practical implications and interventions to obtain a better academic environment that supports the students’ commitment.

The quality of self-determined learning motivation in two educational settings – a person-centered approach

Florian H. Müller1, Irina Andreitz1, Almut E. Thomas1, Barbara Hanfstingl1, Marko Palekcic2

1University of Klagenfurt, Austria; 2University of Zagreb

Self-determination theory (SDT) (Deci & Ryan, 2002) allows a differentiated analysis of the qualities of motivation distinguishing autonomous and controlled forms of regulation.

Previous studies in education mostly investigated the relation between autonomous vs. controlled motivation, need satisfaction and learning outcomes applying a variable-centered approach. In contrary to this approach the both present studies identify personal profiles of motivational regulation styles and examine how these clusters are associated with the perceived learning environment and learning outcomes.

The participants in study 1 were 4,417 students from all types of compulsory secondary schools. In study II the questionnaires were administered to 1,625 university students.

Results of both studies revealed the presence of a four-cluster solution, reflecting different levels of autonomous and controlled learning motivations. A cross validation of the clusters revealed high Cohen’s kappa coefficients. The results indicate slight differences in the type structure of school and university students.

Findings generally favored the both high quality motivation clusters displayed the most optimal learning pattern and scored highest on perceived need-supportive learning environment, relevance, teachers’ enthusiasm as well as on achievement.

Overall, these findings point out (1) that cluster analysis is useful in the understanding of the complex relationship between learning motivation, learning environment and outcomes and (2) that the quality of motivational clusters can thoroughly differ according to settings.

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