Students’ motivation and their social adjustment in the classroom
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The aim of the present correlational study was to investigate Turkish students’ social motivation for their studies. Specifically, it investigated to what extent they endorse a social achievement goal for autonomous or for controlling reasons. Furthermore, the research examined the relation of the endorsed reasons (autonomous and controlling) underlying the social achievement goals to students’ perceived social competence and negative behavior (e.g., aggression, hostility and anger). A cross-sectional design was chosen to measure each variable at one point in time for each participant. A questionnaire was administrated to 226 graduate and undergraduate students (Mage = 22.36, SD = 3.92; 67.4% females), from a private nonprofit university in Ankara, who participated voluntarily in the study. Descriptive statistics showed that Turkish students scored higher on social development goals (the goal to develop meaningful relationships) than on either the social demonstration-approach goals (the goal to be popular) or the social demonstration-avoid goals (the goal to avoid social disapproval). The descriptive statistics also showed that the Turkish students endorsed social development goals for both autonomous (volitional) and controlling (pressuring) reasons. Moreover, a regression analysis showed that controlling reasons underlying social development goals tended to mediate the relation of perceived social competence and negative behavior (e.g., aggression, hostility and anger). Specifically, perceived social competence was negatively related to controlling reasons underlying social development goals and controlling reasons were positively related to negative behavior (e.g., aggression, hostility and anger). Students who had low-perceived social competence adopted social development goals for controlling reasons. Subsequently, those that adopted social development goals for controlling reasons reported high levels of aggressive, anger or hostile behavior toward others. The results are discussed in terms of implications for Turkish curriculum and instruction and they suggest modifications for curriculum and instruction to increase Turkish students’ perceived social competence and to decrease their controlled motivation.
KeywordsSocial achievement goals
Perceived social competence
Autonomous and controlled motivation