British Journal of Developmental Psychology

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Volume 5 Issue 4 (November 1987), Pages 299-394

Children's intrinsic, extrinsic and internalized motivation: A developmental study of children's reasons for liked and disliked behaviours (pages 357-365)

This study investigates three different types of motivation: intrinsic, extrinsic, and internalized. Open‐ended interviews were conducted with 121 5‐ to 13‐year‐old children. Responses to a series of ‘why questions' about two types of behaviours (liked and disliked) were collected and used as indices of the three types of motivation. Responses were initially coded into 10 motivational categories, and then into three motivational supercategories: intrinsic, extrinsic, and internalized. Reasons falling into these three categories were then examined for hypothesized age differences and differences in the frequencies of the categories for the two classes of behaviour. Support was found for the hypothesis that liked behaviours would be intrinsically motivated across the age range. In contrast, age group differences were obtained in the motivation for disliked behaviours, with extrinsic motivation showing higher frequencies at the younger ages and internalized motivation showing higher frequencies at the older ages. The importance children attributed to doing disliked behaviours was positively associated with internalized motivation. These results suggest that intrinsic and internalized motivations are conceptually and developmentally distinct motivational sources and thus should be examined separately in research on children's motivational development.

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