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European Journal of Psychology of Education

, Volume 34, Issue 1, pp 67–86 | Cite as

The directional links between students’ academic motivation and social integration during the first year of higher education

  • Dorien NoyensEmail author
  • Vincent Donche
  • Liesje Coertjens
  • Tine van Daal
  • Peter Van Petegem
Article

Abstract

Previous theoretical research proposed a link between students’ academic motivation and students’ experiences of social integration, but less is known empirically about this association in higher education contexts. In order to explore the directional links between students’ academic motivation and social integration, this survey study aims to investigate the following: (1) how students’ motivation at the start affects their experiences of social integration at the end of the first year of higher education and (2) how students’ social integration at the start influences their motivation at the end of the first year. A total of 930 freshmen participated in this study by completing a questionnaire. Three autoregressive cross-lagged models were tested by using a longitudinal dataset with two measurement waves, at the start and at the end of the first year of higher education. The results showed that students with a high level of amotivation at the start of the first year of higher education were less socially integrated at the end of the first year. Furthermore, social integration could play a crucial role in positively changing students’ identified regulation during the first year of higher education. Students who experienced a greater degree of social integration at the start of the first year had a higher score on identified regulation at the end of the first year. These results highlight the importance of creating a learning environment which fosters students’ social integration, as well as supporting less-motivated students at the start of the first year.

Keywords

Academic motivation Social integration Higher education First-year students Involvement Self-determination 

Notes

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© Instituto Superior de Psicologia Aplicada, Lisboa, Portugal and Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Training and Education Sciences, Faculty of Social SciencesUniversity of AntwerpAntwerpBelgium
  2. 2.Psychological Sciences Research InstituteUniversité Catholique de LouvainLouvain-la-NeuveBelgium

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