DECI'S THEORY OF INTRINSIC MOTIVATION RELATED TO ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT IN AN URBAN HIGH SCHOOL SETTING

PAUL PETER BAARD, Fordham University

Abstract

Causality orientations are conceptualized as relatively enduring aspects of people that characterize the source of initiation and regulation, and consequently the degree of self-determination they experience with respect to their own behavior. Causality orientations are conceptually linked to motivation. The autonomy orientation is characterized by a sense of personal effectiveness and self-determination, and is thought to house a propensity toward intrinsically-motivated behaviors. The control orientation is associated with an external perceived locus of causality of behavior, linked with extrinsic motivation. Finally, the impersonal orientation is characterized by feelings of helplessness and incompetence, and is related to amotivated or non-purposeful behavior.^ The study focused on the causality orientations of inner-city high school students, who had previously been identified as probable dropouts. The study examined the causality variable, using the General Causality Orientations measure, in conjunction with the students' academic outcomes over a two-year period. This narrow focus emphasized the role of causality orientations in the decision of adolescents to continue their education or to drop out of the system.^ It was hypothesized that those students who completed high school and enrolled in a four-year college would differ in their causality orientations from students who dropped out of school prior to graduation. It was predicted that the high achievement group would have a higher mean on the autonomy scale, and lower means on the control and impersonal measures.^ The data supported two of the three hypotheses. The dropouts had significantly higher control and impersonal scores. The two groups did not differ, however, in their autonomy scores.^ Further analyses of the data revealed that autonomy was a differentiator only for seniors in high school. Sophomores and juniors were not different on this measure, but seniors had significantly higher autonomy scores. The presence of more self-determining opportunities in the senior year may have accounted for this finding.^ Further research is needed on the suitability of the measurement instrument with this population, and also the effect on academic outcomes of differing levels of self-determining opportunities. ^

Subject Area

Personality psychology

Recommended Citation

BAARD, PAUL PETER, "DECI'S THEORY OF INTRINSIC MOTIVATION RELATED TO ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT IN AN URBAN HIGH SCHOOL SETTING" (1987). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8725667.
https://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8725667

Share

COinS