Social Psychology of Education

, Volume 15, Issue 1, pp 77–95

Intrinsic and extrinsic school motivation as a function of age: the mediating role of autonomy support

Authors

    • Département de PsychologieUniversité François Rabelais - Tours, U.F.R. Arts et Sciences Humaines
  • Robert J. Vallerand
    • Laboratoire de Recherche sur le Comportement SocialUniversité du Québec à Montréal
  • Marc-André K. Lafrenière
    • Laboratoire de Recherche sur le Comportement SocialUniversité du Québec à Montréal
Article

DOI: 10.1007/s11218-011-9170-2

Cite this article as:
Gillet, N., Vallerand, R.J. & Lafrenière, M.K. Soc Psychol Educ (2012) 15: 77. doi:10.1007/s11218-011-9170-2

Abstract

The main purpose of the present research was to investigate school intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, and amotivation as a function of age in a sample of 1,600 elementary and high school students aged 9–17 years. First, results revealed a systematic decrease in intrinsic motivation and self-determined extrinsic motivation from age 9 to 12 years, a slow stabilization until 15 years old, followed by an increase after that point. Second, non self-determined extrinsic motivation showed a decrease up to 12 years old and a slow stabilization after that point. Finally, amotivation was relatively low and stable from age 9 to 17 years. Of importance is that the present results also revealed that teacher autonomy support mediated the age-school motivation relationships. The present results underscore the importance of a better understanding of the mechanisms through which lower intrinsic motivation and self-determined extrinsic motivation in older students take place, eventually leading to appropriate interventions and optimal motivation in students of all ages.

Keywords

AgeMotivationAutonomy supportSelf-determination theory

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011