Transactional Relations between Motivational Beliefs and Help Seeking from Teachers and Peers across Adolescence
Adolescents often avoid seeking academic help when needed, making it important to understand the motivational processes that support help seeking behavior. Using expectancy-value theory as a framework, this study examined transactional relations between motivational beliefs (i.e., academic self-concept or academic importance) and seeking help from teachers and peers across adolescence (i.e., from approximately age 12 to 17 years). Data were collected from 1479 adolescents (49% female; 61.9% African American, 31.2% European American, 6.9% other race). Analyses were conducted with cross-lagged panel models using three waves of data from seventh, ninth, and eleventh grade. Results indicated that both academic self-concept and academic importance were associated with increases in teacher help seeking in earlier adolescence, but were associated only with increases in peer help seeking in later adolescence. Help-seeking behavior positively influenced motivational beliefs, with teacher help seeking increasing academic self-concept earlier in adolescence and peer help seeking increasing academic importance later in adolescence. These transactional relations differed by adolescents’ prior achievement and racial background, but not by adolescents’ gender.