Social Psychology of Education

, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp 101–112 | Cite as

Student perceptions and motivation in the classroom: exploring relatedness and value

  • Annette KaufmanEmail author
  • Tonya Dodge


According to Self-Determination Theory, feelings of relatedness and value of a behavior are critical factors that affect internalization and integration. The purpose of the current study was to identify factors that influence relatedness and value in an academic setting. Specifically, the study investigated the effects of autonomy, mastery goals, performance-approach goals, and performance-avoidance goals, on two dependent variables: relatedness to the professor and value of the course. Participants were 222 undergraduate students (90 males) enrolled in introductory psychology classes. Linear regression analyses showed a statistically significant effect of mastery goals and autonomy on relatedness such that higher scores were associated with greater relatedness. A similar pattern emerged for value. Neither performance-approach nor performance-avoidance goals were significantly associated with relatedness or value. Theoretical and practical contributions are discussed.


Relatedness Value Motivation Goal Autonomy 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. American College Testing Program. (2007). National collegiate retention and persistence to degree rates. Retrieved July 26 from
  2. Bowlby J. (1958) The nature of the child’s tie to his mother. Jahrbuch der Psychoanalyse, 99: 350–373Google Scholar
  3. Burton K.D., Lydon J.E., D’Alessandro D.U., Koestner R. (2006) The differential effects of intrinsic and identified motivation on well-being and performance: Prospective, experimental, and implicit approaches to self-determination theory. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 91(4): 750–762. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.91.4.750 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Church M.A., Elliot A.J., Gable S.L. (2001) Perceptions of classroom environment, achievement goals, and achievement outcomes. Journal of Educational Psychology, 93(1): 43–54. doi: 10.1037/0022-0663.93.1.43 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Connell, J. P., & Ryan, R. M. (1987). Self-regulatory style questionnaire: A measure of external, introjected, identified, and intrinsic reasons for initiating behavior. Manual, University of Rochester.Google Scholar
  6. Connell J.P., Spencer M.B., Aber J.L. (1994) Educational risk and resilience in African-American youth: Context, self, action, and outcomes in school. Child Development, 65(2): 493–506. doi: 10.2307/1131398 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Connell, J.P., Welborn, J.G. (eds) (1991) Competence, autonomy and relatedness: A motivational analysis of self-system processes (Vol 23). Erlbaum, Hillsdale, NHGoogle Scholar
  8. Cury F., Elliot A., Sarrazin P., Da Fonseca D., Rufo M. (2002) The trichotomous achievement goal model and intrinsic motivation: A sequential mediational analysis. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 38: 473–481. doi: 10.1016/S0022-1031(02)00017-3 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Deci E.L. (1971) Effects of externally mediated rewards on intrinsic motivation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 18(1): 105–115. doi: 10.1037/h0030644 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Deci E.L., Eghrari H., Patrick B.C., Leone D.R. (1994) Facilitating internalization: The self-determination theory perspective. Journal of Personality, 62(1): 119–142. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-6494.1994.tb00797.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Deci E.L., Koestner R., Ryan R.M. (1999) A meta-analytic review of experiments examining the effects of extrinsic rewards on intrinsic motivation. Psychological Bulletin, 125(6): 627–668. doi: 10.1037/0033-2909.125.6.627 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Deci E.L., Ryan R.M. (1987) The support of autonomy and the control of behavior. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 53(6): 1024–1037. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.53.6.1024 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Deci E.L., Ryan R.M. (2000) The "what" and "why" of goal pursuits: Human needs and the self-determination of behavior. Psychological Inquiry, 11(4): 227–268. doi: 10.1207/S15327965PLI1104_01 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Deci E.L., Ryan R.M. (2000) Self-determination theory and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation, social development, and well-being. The American Psychologist, 55(1): 68–78. doi: 10.1037/0003-066X.55.1.68 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Dweck C.S. (1986) Motivational processes affecting learning. The American Psychologist, 41(10): 1040–1048. doi: 10.1037/0003-066X.41.10.1040 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Dweck C.S. (1992) The study of goals in psychology. Psychological Science, 3(3): 165–167. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9280.1992.tb00019.x Google Scholar
  17. Dweck C.S., Leggett E.L. (1988) A social-cognitive approach to motivation and personality. Psychological Review, 95(2): 256–273. doi: 10.1037/0033-295X.95.2.256 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Elliot A. (1999) Approach and avoidance motivation and achievement goals. Educational Psychologist, 34(3): 169–189. doi: 10.1207/s15326985ep3403_3 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Elliot A.J., Church M.A. (1997) A hierarchical model of approach and avoidance achievement motivation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 72(1): 218–232. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.72.1.218 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Elliot A.J., Harackiewicz J.M. (1996) Approach and avoidance achievement goals and intrinsic motivation: A mediational analysis. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 70(3): 461–475. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.70.3.461 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Gest S.D., Welsh J.A., Domitrovich C.E. (2005) Behavioral predictors of changes in social relatedness and liking school in elementary school. Journal of School Psychology, 43: 281–301. doi: 10.1016/j.jsp.2005.06.002 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Grant H., Dweck C.S. (2003) Clarifying achievement goals and their impact. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 85(3): 541–553. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.85.3.541 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Grolnick W.S., Ryan R.M. (1987) Autonomy in children’s learning: An experimental and individual difference investigation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 52: 891–898. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.52.5.890 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Harackiewicz J.M., Barron K.E., Carter S.M., Lehto A.T., Elliot A.J. (1997) Predictors and consequences of achievement goals in the college classroom: Maintaining interest and making the grade. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 73(6): 1284–1295. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.73.6.1284 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Harackiewicz J.M., Barron K.E., Tauer J.M., Carter S.M., Elliot A. J. (2000) Short-term and long-term consequences of achievement goals: Predicting interest and performance over time. Journal of Educational Psychology, 92(2): 316–330. doi: 10.1037/0022-0663.92.2.316 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Harackiewicz J.M., Barron K.E., Tauer J.M., Elliot A.J. (2002) Predicting success in college: A longitudinal study of achievement goals and ability measures as predictors of interest and performance from freshman year through graduation. Journal of Educational Psychology, 94(3): 562–575. doi: 10.1037/0022-0663.94.3.562 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Hodgins H.S., Koestner R., Duncan N. (1996) On the compatibility of autonomy and relatedness. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 22: 227–237. doi: 10.1177/0146167296223001 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Legault L., Green-Demers I., Pelletier L. (2006) Why do high school students lack motivation in the classroom? Toward an understanding of academic amotivation and the role of social support. Journal of Educational Psychology, 98(3): 567–582. doi: 10.1037/0022-0663.98.3.567 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. McGregor H.A., Elliot A.J. (2002) Achievement goals as predictors of achievement-relevant processes prior to task engagement. Journal of Educational Psychology, 94(2): 381–395. doi: 10.1037/0022-0663.94.2.381 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Patrick B.C., Skinner E.A., Connell J.P. (1993) What motivates children’s behavior and emotion? Joint effects of perceived control and autonomy in the academic domain. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 65(4): 781–791. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.65.4.781 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Reeve J., Jang H., Hardre P., Omura M. (2002) Providing a rationale in an autonomy-supportive way as a strategy to motivate others during an uninteresting activity. Motivation and Emotion, 26(3): 183–206. doi: 10.1023/A:1021711629417 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Ryan R.M. (1993) Agency and organization: Intrinsic motivation, autonomy and the self in psychological development (Vol. 40). University of Nebraska Press, LincolnGoogle Scholar
  33. Ryan R.M., Deci E.L. (2000) Intrinsic and extrinsic motivations: Classic definitions and new directions. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 25: 54–67. doi: 10.1006/ceps.1999.1020 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Self Determination Theory. An Approach to Human Motivation and Personality. The Self-Determination Scale. (Retrieved January 22, 2007).
  35. Sheldon, K., & Deci, E. (1996). The self-determination scale. University of Rochester.Google Scholar
  36. Shih S. (2005) Taiwanese sixth graders’ achievement goals and their motivation, strategy use, and grades: An examination of the multiple goal perspective. The Elementary School Journal, 106(1): 39–58. doi: 10.1086/496906 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Turney J.R. (1974) Activity outcome expectancies and intrinsic activity values as predictors of several motivation indexes for technical-professionals. Organizational Behavior and Human Performance, 11(1): 65–82. doi: 10.1016/0030-5073(74)90005-1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Vansteenkiste M., Simons J., Lens W., Sheldon K.M., Deci E.L. (2004) Motivating learning, performance, and persistence. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 87(2): 246–260. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.87.2.246 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Vansteenkiste M., Simons J., Lens W., Soenens B., Matos L. (2005) Examining the motivational impact of intrinsic versus extrinsic goal framing and autonomy-supportive versus internally controlling communication style on early adolescents’ academic achievement. Child Development, 76(2): 483–501. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2005.00858.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Waterman A.S. (2005) When effort is enjoyed: Two studies of intrinsic motivation for personally salient activities. Motivation and Emotion, 29(3): 165–188. doi: 10.1007/s11031-005-9440-4 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Watson G., Johnson G.C., Auston H. (2004) Exploring relatedness to field of study as an indicator of student retention. Higher Education Research & Development, 23(1): 57–72. doi: 10.1080/0729436032000168496 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Wild T.C., Enzle M.E., Nix G., Deci E.L. (1997) Perceiving others as intrinsically or extrinsically motivated: Effects on expectancy formation and task engagement. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 23(8): 837–848. doi: 10.1177/0146167297238005 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Williams G.C., Deci E.L. (1998) The importance of supporting autonomy in medical education. Annals of Internal Medicine, 129: 303–308Google Scholar
  44. Williams G.C., Grow V.M., Freedman Z.R., Ryan R.M., Deci E.L. (1996) Motivational predictors of weight loss and weight-loss maintenance. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 70(1): 115–126CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyThe George Washington UniversityWashingtonUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologySkidmore CollegeSaratoga SpringsUSA

Personalised recommendations