The Effects of Constructs of Motivation that Affirm and Undermine Reading Achievement Inside and Outside of School on Middle School Students' Reading Achievement

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Coddington, Cassandra Shular
Wigfield, Allan
Guthrie, John T
The purpose of this study was to examine whether motivation for reading was multidimensional in two respects. First, central constructs were drawn from three major theories of motivation. Second, versions of each construct were formulated that were expected to correlate positively with achievement (affirming); and versions of each construct were formulated that were expected to correlate negatively with achievement (undermining). The goal of the study was to determine whether these reading motivation constructs were relatively independent and whether the multiple motivations contributed to predicting achievement. Constructs of motivation were derived from Self-Determination Theory (Deci, Vallerand, Pelletier, & Ryan, 1991), Social Cognitive Theory (Bandura, 1977, 2001) and Social Goals (Wentzel, 2002, 2004). Constructs of motivation that affirm reading achievement and constructs of motivation that undermine reading achievement were both examined. These constructs included, intrinsic motivation, avoidance, self-efficacy, perceived difficulty, prosocial interactions, and antisocial interactions. This study also investigated student motivations for reading for two reasons, school and outside school. Participants were 247 seventh grade students from two middle schools in a mid-Atlantic state. Students completed four measures, including the Gates-MacGinitie Reading Comprehension test, a measure of inferencing ability, a motivation questionnaire for school reading, and a motivation questionnaire for outside school reading. Reading/Language Arts grades were also obtained for all students. Four objectives were addressed through the results of six research questions. Factor analyses results supported the discussion of motivation as a multidimensional construct. Three factors emerged when examining the three constructs of motivation that affirm achievement and the three constructs of motivation that undermine achievement. In addition, factor analyses results supported the perspective that undermining motivations are uniquely predictive of achievement and not simply negatively valenced affirming motivations. Two factors emerged when analyzing the affirming and undermining constructs of motivation in theoretical pairs. Regression analyses indicated that undermining motivations are predictive of achievement even when affirming motivations have been taken into account statistically. Some differences in these results for the school and outside school constructs are discussed. Significance of the findings was discussed in terms of the theoretical importance of the simultaneous functioning of multiple motivations for reading among adolescent students.