Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 39, Issue 3, pp 521–531

Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation for Stereotypic and Repetitive Behavior

  • Annette V. Joosten
  • Anita C. Bundy
  • Stewart L. Einfeld
Original Paper


This study provides evidence for intrinsic and extrinsic motivators for stereotypical and repetitive behavior in children with autism and intellectual disability and children with intellectual disability alone. We modified the Motivation Assessment Scale (MAS) (1988b); dividing it into intrinsic and extrinsic measures and adding items to assess anxiety as an intrinsic motivator. Rasch analysis of data from 279 MASs (74 children) revealed that the items formed two unidimensional scales. Anxiety was a more likely intrinsic motivator than sensory seeking for children with dual diagnoses; the reverse was true for children with intellectual disability only. Escape and gaining a tangible object were the most common extrinsic motivators for those with dual diagnoses and attention and escape for children with intellectual disability.


Stereotypic Intrinsic Extrinsic Anxiety Rasch analysis 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Annette V. Joosten
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Anita C. Bundy
    • 1
  • Stewart L. Einfeld
    • 4
  1. 1.Faculty of Health SciencesUniversity of SydneySydneyAustralia
  2. 2.Faculty of Health SciencesCurtin University of TechnologyBentleyAustralia
  3. 3.School of Occupational TherapyCurtin University of TechnologyPerthAustralia
  4. 4.Faculty of Health Sciences, Brain & Mind InstituteUniversity of SydneySydney2165Australia

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