Multiple pathways to success: An examination of integrative motivational profiles among upper elementary and college students

Lisa Linnenbrink-Garcia, Stephanie V. Wormington, Kate E. Snyder, Jan Riggsbee, Tony Perez, Adar Ben-Eliyahu, Nancy E. Hill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Two studies were conducted with distinct samples to investigate how motivational beliefs cohere and function together (i.e., motivational profiles) and predict academic adjustment. Integrating across motivational theories, participants (NStudy 1 = 160 upper elementary students; NStudy 2 = 325 college students) reported on multiple types of motivation (achievement goals, task value, perceived competence) for schooling more generally (Study 1) and in science (Study 2). Three profiles characterized by Moderate-High All, Intrinsic and Confident, and Average All motivation were identified in both studies. Profiles characterized by Very High All motivation (Study 1) and Moderate Intrinsic and Confident (Study 2) were also present. Across studies, the Moderate-High All and Intrinsic and Confident profiles were associated with the highest academic engagement and achievement. Findings highlight the benefit of integrating across motivational theories when creating motivational profiles, provide initial evidence regarding similarities and differences in integrative motivational profiles across distinct samples, and identify which motivational combinations are associated with beneficial academic outcomes in two educational contexts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1026-1048
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Educational Psychology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Earlier versions of portions of this article were presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, April 2012, Vancouver, BC, Canada, and the International Conference on Motivation, June 2014, Finland. The research reported in this article was supported by a grant from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under award 5R01GM094534 and Faculty Research Leave Grant from the Duke Talent Identification Program. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health or Duke Talent Identification Program.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 American Psychological Association.


  • Achievement goals
  • Motivation
  • Perceived competence
  • Person-oriented
  • Task value

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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