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Longitudinal Analysis of Intrinsic Motivation and Competence Beliefs: Is There a Relation Over Time?

Authors

  • Birgit Spinath,

    Corresponding author
    1. University of Heidelberg
      concerning this article should be addressed to Birgit Spinath, Department of Psychology, University of Heidelberg, Hauptstrasse 47-51, D-69117 Heidelberg, Germany. Electronic mail may be sent to birgit.spinath@psychologie.uni-heidelberg.de.
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  • Ricarda Steinmayr

    1. University of Heidelberg
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concerning this article should be addressed to Birgit Spinath, Department of Psychology, University of Heidelberg, Hauptstrasse 47-51, D-69117 Heidelberg, Germany. Electronic mail may be sent to birgit.spinath@psychologie.uni-heidelberg.de.

Abstract

The present study explored whether competence beliefs and intrinsic motivation for different school domains show reciprocal effects over time. A sample of 670 German elementary school pupils (M= 8.8 years, SD= 0.51) was followed over 1 year. At 4 measurement occasions, children completed self-reports on their intrinsic motivation and competence beliefs for math, German, and school in general. Latent growth models revealed that intrinsic motivation and competence beliefs decreased over time. Comparing correlational and cross-lagged structural equation models yielded only weak evidence for cross-lagged influences between the 2 constructs. Results suggest that the developmental curves of competence beliefs and intrinsic motivation might be less inextricably interwoven than frequently assumed.

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