European Journal of Psychology of Education

, Volume 34, Issue 2, pp 457–478 | Cite as

Does self-efficacy contribute to the development of students’ motivation across the transition from secondary to higher education?

  • Eva KyndtEmail author
  • Vincent Donche
  • Liesje Coertjens
  • Tine van Daal
  • David Gijbels
  • Peter Van Petegem


The transition from secondary to higher education is a challenging process, in which the development of students’ motivation plays a pivotal role. The current study examines whether self-efficacy—and how it develops—is able to explain the growth in motivation. The current longitudinal study included five waves, across a period of 25 months (i.e. start of the final year of secondary education until the beginning of the second year of higher education). Results show—contrary to our hypothesis based on the self-determination theory and social cognitive theory—that the growth in autonomous motivation positively predicts the growth in self-efficacy and that this ‘reversed’ model is superior in terms of fit and explained variance to the hypothesised model.


Motivation Self-efficacy Transition Longitudinal growth analysis Higher education 



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Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Research on Professional Learning & Development, and Lifelong LearningKU Leuven – University of LeuvenLeuvenBelgium
  2. 2.Research Group EduBronUniversity of AntwerpAntwerpBelgium
  3. 3.Psychological Sciences Research InstituteCatholic University of LouvainLouvain-la-NeuveBelgium

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