Medical Science Educator

, Volume 21, Issue 2, pp 142–150 | Cite as

Motivation to Learn, Quality of Life and Estimated Academic Achievement: Medical Students Studying in New Zealand

  • Marcus A. Henning
  • Christian U. Krägeloh
  • Susan J. Hawken
  • Iain Doherty
  • Yipin Zhao
  • Boaz Shulruf
Original Research


The quality of life of medical students and their motivation to learn are critical factors that have an impact on their ability to learn. The aim of this study was to investigate the associations between medical students’ perceptions of their quality of life, motivation to learn, and estimated grade at the end of the academic year. Two hundred and seventy-four medical students at years four and five of medical school participated in the study. Students filled in a demographic survey form, and shortened versions of the World Health Organization Quality of Life Questionnaire and the Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire. Significant correlations between quality of life and motivation to learn measures were obtained. Second, students who scored high on aspects of quality of life and motivation to learn also scored significantly higher on estimates of written grade. In conclusion, the results suggest that medical students’ perceptions about quality of life and motivation to learn are linked to estimation of academic achievement. The findings of this study further resonate with a key conceptual model in the motivation literature, which promotes the importance of creating opportunities for mastery learning, engaging task value, producing optimal learning contexts, and creating mechanisms for coping with and managing the inevitable anxiety-provoking learning experiences that medical students face.


Medical students motivation to learn quality of life New Zealand 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Bramness JG, Fixdal TC, Vaglum P. Effect of medical school stress on the mental health of medical students in early and late clinical curriculum. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica. 2007; 84(4):340–5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Misch D. Andragogy and medical education: are medical students internally motivated to learn? Adv. Health Sci. Educ. 2002; 7(2):153–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Hassed C, Lisle Sd, Sullivan G, Pier C. Enhancing the health of medical students: Outcomes of an integrated mindfulness and lifestyle program. Adv. Health Sci. Educ. 2009; 14(3):387–98.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Radcliffe C, Lester H. Perceived stress during undergraduate medical training: A qualitative study. Med. Educ. 2003; 37(1):32–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Ross S, Cleland J, Macleod MJ. Stress, debt and undergraduate medical student performance. Med. Educ. 2006; 40(6):584–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Srivastava K, Raju M, Saldanha D, Chaudhury S, Basannar D, Pawar A, et al. Psychological well-being of medical students. Med. J. Armed Forces India. 2007; 63(2):137–40. Retrieved from Scholar
  7. 7.
    Lonka K, Sharafi P, Karlgren K, Masiello I, Nieminen J, Birgegård G, et al. MED NORD-A tool for measuring medical students’ well-being and study orientations. Med. Teach. 2008; 30(1):72–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Owens J. Sleep loss and fatigue in medical training. Curr. Opin. Pulm. Med. 2001; 7(6):411.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Tanaka M, Mizuno K, Fukuda S, Tajima S, Watanabe Y. Personality traits associated with intrinsic academic motivation in medical students. Med. Educ.. 2009; 43(4):384–7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Ruthig JC, Haynes TL, Stupnisky RH, Perry RP. Perceived Academic Control: mediating the effects of optimism and social support on college students’ psychological health. Soc. Psychol. Educ. 2009; 12:233–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Chow HPH. Psychological well-being and scholastic achievement among university students in a Canadian Prairie City. J. Soc. Psychol. Educ. 2007; 10(4):483–93.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    The WHOQOL Group. The development of the World Health Organization Quality of Life Assessment Instrument (the WHOQoL). In: Orley J, Kuyken W, editors. Quality of Life Assessment: International Perspectives. Heidleberg: Springer-Verlag; 1994.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Pintrich PR. A conceptual framework for assessing motivation and self-regulated learning in college students. Educ. Psychol. Rev. 2004; 16(4):385–407.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Pintrich PR, De Groot EV. Motivational and self-regulated learning components of classroom academic performance. J. Educ. Psychol. 1990; 82 (1):33–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Schunk DH, Pajares F. Competence Perceptions and Academic Functioning. In: Elliott A, Dweck C, editors. Handbook of competence and motivation (pages 85–104). New York: Guilford; 2005.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Pintrich PR, Zusho A. Student motivation and self-regulated learning in the college classroom. In: Perry RP, Smart JC, editors. The scholarship of teaching and learning in higher education: An evidence-based perspective. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer; 2007. p. 731–810.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Raj SR, Simpson CS, Hopman WM, Singer MA. Health-related quality of life among final-year medical students. CMAJ. 2000;162(4):509–10. [September 10, 2010]Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Prins JT, Gazendam-Donofrio SM, Dillingh GS, van de Wiel HBM, van der Heijden FMMA, Hoekstra-Weebers JEHM. The relationship between reciprocity and burnout in Dutch medical residents. Med. Educ. 2008; 42:721–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Akins RB. Motivation of Asian Americans to study medicine: A pilot study. Academic Leadership. 2007;5(1). [August 4, 2010]
  20. 20.
    The WHOQOL Group. Development of the World Health Organization WHOQOL-BREF quality of life assessment. Psychol. Med. 1998; 28(3):551–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Billington R, Landon J, Krägeloh CU, Shepherd D. The New Zealand World Health Organization Quality of Life (WHOQOL) Group. N Z Med. J. 2010; 123 (1315):65–70.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Ferguson E, James D, Madeley L. Factors associated with success in medical school: Systematic review of the literature. BMJ. 2002; 324:952–7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Pelaccia T, Delplancq H, Triby E, Bartier J-C, Leman CC, Dupeyron J-P. Impact of training periods in the emergency department on the motivation of health care students to learn. Med. Educ. 2009; 43(5):462–70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Rieber N, Betz L, Enck P, Muth E, Nikendei C, Schrauth M, et al. Effects of medical training scenarios on heart rate variability and motivation in students and simulated patients. Med. Educ. 2009;43(6):553–6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Armstrong D, Ashworth M. When questionnaire response rates do matter: A survey of general practitioners and their views of NHS changes. Brit. J. Gen. Pract. 2000; 50:479–80.Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    The University of Auckland: Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences. Undergraduate study at the FMHS.; 2009 [updated July 2; cited 2009 November 24]. Available from:
  27. 27.
    Davis C, Thake J, Vilhena N. Social desirability biases in self-reported alcohol consumption and harms. Addictive Behav. 2010;35(4):302–11.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Hodgson C, Teherani A, Guiton G, Wilkerson L. The relationship between student anonymity and responses from two medical schools on the Association of American Medical Colleges’ Graduation Questionnaire. Acad. Med. 2002;77(10):S48–S50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Murphy B, Herrman H, Hawthorne G, Pinzone T, Evert H. Australian WHOQOL Instruments: User’s manual and interpretation guide. Melbourne: Australian WHOQOL Field Study Centre; 2000.Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Field A. Discovering statistics using SPSS. 2nd ed. London: Sage; 2005.Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Ohsako T, Sawano Y. The situation in Japan. In: Tikkanen T, Nyhan B, editors. Promoting lifelong learning for older workers: An international overview (pages 90–107). Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities 2006.Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    The WHOQoL Group. The World Health Organization quality of life assessment (WHOQOL): Development and general psychometric properties. Soc. Sci. Med. 1998; 46(12):1569–85.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    White CB, Gruppen LD. Self-regulated learning in medical education. Edinburgh: Association for the Study of Medical Education (ASME); 2007.Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Boekaerts M. Being concerned with well-being and with learning. Educ. Psychol. 1993; 28:148–67.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Henning MA, Hawken SJ, Hill AG. The quality of life of New Zealand doctors and medical students: What can be done to avoid burnout? New Zealand Med J. 2009;122(1307):102–10.Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    Choi N. Self-efficacy and self-concept as predictors of college students’ academic performance. Psychol. Schools. 2005; 42(2):197–205.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Marsh HW. Causal ordering of academic self-concept and academic achievement: a multiwave, longitudinal panel analysis. J. Educ. Psych. 1990; 82(4):646–56.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Rodriguez C. The impact of academic self-concept, expectations and the choice of learning strategy on academic achievement: the case of business students. High. Educ. Res. Develop. 2009; 28(5):523–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Turner JL, Dankoski ME. Objective Structured Clinical Exams: A Critical Review. Fam. Med. 2008; 40(8):574–8.Google Scholar
  40. 40.
    Ford-Gilboe M, Laschinger HKS, Laforet-Fliesser Y. The effect of a clinical practicum on undergraduate nursing students’ self-efficacy for community-based family nursing practice. J. Nurs. Educ. 1997; 36:212–9.Google Scholar
  41. 41.
    Jackson JW. Enhancing self-efficacy and learning performance. J. Experiment. Educ. 2002; 70(3):243–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. 42.
    Margolis H, McCabe PP. Self-efficacy: A key to improving the motivation of struggling learners. Prevent. School Failure. 2003; 47(4):162–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. 43.
    Opacic DA. The relationship between self-efficacy and student physician assistant clinical performance. J. Allied Health. 2003; 32(3):158–66.Google Scholar
  44. 44.
    Pintrich PR. A motivational science perspective on the role of student motivation in learning and teaching contexts. J. Educ. Psychol. 2003; 95(4):667–86.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marcus A. Henning
    • 1
  • Christian U. Krägeloh
    • 2
  • Susan J. Hawken
    • 1
  • Iain Doherty
    • 1
  • Yipin Zhao
    • 1
  • Boaz Shulruf
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Medical and Health Sciences EducationUniversity of AucklandAucklandNew Zealand
  2. 2.AUT UniversityAucklandNew Zealand

Personalised recommendations