Several studies have shown that individuals who engage in activities for intrinsic reasons are more adjusted and psychologically healthier and perform better professionally than those who participate in activities for extrinsic reasons. These studies have assessed both adults and children, but very few have looked at the college population and the specific impact of motivation to attend college on academic success and life satisfaction. In this study, college students from several universities completed a paper-based or an online survey that assessed academic success, life satisfaction, psychological health, and reasons for attending college. The results suggest that while intrinsic motivation relates to increased performance and satisfaction with life, extrinsic motivation is not necessarily bad. Extrinsic motivation was only associated with negative outcomes when the extrinsic goals were unrelated to career competence. While a focus on the pleasure of learning and accomplishing goals is important for college student success, a focus on career preparation and efficacy may be equally, if not more, important.
Conference Proceedings: Undergraduate Social Science Research Conference
©2003 by the University of Northern Iowa
University of Northern Iowa
Cedar Falls, IA
Irwin, Courtney and Harton, Helen C.
"Motivation to Attend College as a Predictor of Academic Success and Psychological Well Being,"
Conference Proceedings: Undergraduate Social Science Research Conference: Vol. 7:
1, Article 39.
Available at: https://scholarworks.uni.edu/csbsproceedings/vol7/iss1/39