A comparison of the motivational patterns among Hispanic and European-Americans

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Rumback, Erica
Schommer-Aikins, Marlene

This study explored the relationship between motivation and ethnicity in upper elementary aged students, specifically comparing Hispanic to European-American participants. The purpose was to determine whether there was a link between one's culture identity and motivation. This study utilized Carol Dweck's theories of beliefs about intelligence and achievement goals and Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of needs. These three theories were compared to ethnicity and gender as the predictor variables used during this exploration. There were a total of 129 fourth and fifth grade students, 89 of whom were European-American and 40 of whom were Hispanic. Participants completed a questionnaire including demographic questions, questions pertaining to their beliefs about intelligence and achievement goals, adapted from Carol Dweck (1999), part of a Life Motivation Scale, adapted by Goebel and Brown (1981) addressing Maslow's hierarchy of needs, and a modified cultural influence section, adapted from Chirkov, Lynch, and Niwa (2005). Main analyses revealed a significant relationship between ethnicity and beliefs about intelligence and rankings of Maslow's needs. Hispanic participants showed a stronger belief in fixed intelligence and a stronger need for esteem and security or safety compared to European-American participants. European-American participants showed a stronger need for the self-actualization need compared to Hispanic participants. Girls also had stronger performance goals when compared to boys.

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Thesis (M.Ed.)--Wichita State University, College of Education, Dept. of Counseling, Educational Leadership, Educational and School Psychology.