Transactional Relations between Motivational Beliefs and Help Seeking from Teachers and Peers across Adolescence
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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.
KeywordsHelp seeking Motivational beliefs Expectancy-value theory Peers Teachers
This research used the MADIC Study of Adolescent Development in Multiple Contexts, 1991–1998 (Log No. 01066) dataset (made accessible in 2000; numeric data files). These data were collected by Jacqueline Eccles and Arnold Sameroff (principal investigators) and are available through the Henry A. Murray Research Archive of the Institute for Quantitative Social Science at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts (distributor).
JA conceived of the study, performed the statistical analysis, and drafted the manuscript; MW was involved in the study’s design and helped to draft the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
The original data collection was funded by the MacArthur Foundation and National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Grant ROI HD33437.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
A review conducted by the Institutional Review Board approved the study to be consistent with the protection of the rights and welfare of human subjects.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual adolescents included in the study and from their guardians.
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