Original Paper

Child & Youth Care Forum

, Volume 40, Issue 2, pp 135-149

Parental Autonomy Support and Student Learning Goals: A Preliminary Examination of an Intrinsic Motivation Intervention

  • John Mark FroilandAffiliated withDepartment of Counseling, Educational Psychology, and Special Education, Michigan State UniversityDepartment of School Psychology, University of Northern Colorado Email author 

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Abstract

In a seven week quasi-experimental study, parents (n = 15) of elementary school students (n = 15) learned autonomy supportive communication techniques that included helping their children set learning goals for homework assignments. Treatment vs. comparison group (n = 30) ANCOVA analyses revealed that the parents in the treatment group perceived their children as becoming more autonomously motivated relative to the comparison group, F(1, 26) = 7.69, p < .05. Children in the treatment group reported increased positive affect toward homework relative to the comparison group, F(1,26) = 5.35, p < .05. Children did not significantly improve on general measures of self reported academic intrinsic motivation or relative autonomy. These preliminary findings suggest that autonomy supportive parenting styles may improve parent’s perceptions of their children’s autonomous motivation and children’s subjective experience of positive affect surrounding homework. In order to draw firmer conclusions about the effects of the intervention, more rigorously controlled studies will be needed in the future.

Keywords

Parenting style Homework Intrinsic motivation Elementary school students Goal setting