Perceptions of Autonomy Support, Parent Attachment, Competence and Self-Worth as Predictors of Motivational Orientation and Academic Achievement: An Examination of Sixth- and Ninth-Grade Regular Education Students

By Wong, Eugene H.; Wiest, Dudley J. et al. | Adolescence, Summer 2002 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Perceptions of Autonomy Support, Parent Attachment, Competence and Self-Worth as Predictors of Motivational Orientation and Academic Achievement: An Examination of Sixth- and Ninth-Grade Regular Education Students


Wong, Eugene H., Wiest, Dudley J., Cusick, Lisa B., Adolescence


A growing body of literature supports an association between students' motivation and socializing agents (i.e., parents and teachers). Specifically, numerous studies have shown that students' perceptions of positive relationships with parents and teachers contribute to success in academic settings. In general, higher achievement and motivation have been linked to such interpersonal variables as parent attachment (Jacobson & Hoffman, 1997; Learner & Kruger, 1997), parent involvement (Ginsburg & Bronstein, 1993; Grolnick, Ryan, & Deci, 1991; Grolnick & Slowiaczek, 1994), parental autonomy support (Ginsburg & Bronstein, 1993; Grolnick, Ryan, & Deci, 1991; Wiest, Wong, & Cusick, 1997), and teacher autonomy support (Grolnick & Ryan, 1987; Skinner, Wellborn, & Connell, 1990; Wentzel, 1997; Wiest, Wong, & Cusick, 1997). In addition, intrapersonal variables such as perceived competence (Harter, 1981; Stipek, 1988), perceived control (Connell, 1985; Skinner, Wellborn, & Connell, 1990), and perceived autonomy support ( Grolnick & Slowiaczek, 1994; Ryan, Stiller, & Lynch, 1994; Wentzel, 1997) have been shown to affect young adolescents' achievement and motivation. Finally, researchers have also identified systematic links between these interpersonal and intrapersonal variables (Grolnick, Ryan, & Deci, 1991; Grolnick & Slowiaczek, 1994; Wiest, Wong, & Cusick, 1997).

Parent Attachment

Attachment research has demonstrated that children's attachment to their primary caregiver provides a supportive framework from which they can explore the environment and master the challenges within that environment (Ainsworth, 1982; Bowlby, 1988). Further, there is evidence that attachment relationships beyond early childhood (i.e., adolescence) may continue to serve a similar purpose, providing a secure base from which the early adolescent can explore the environment (Armsden & Greenberg, 1987). These relationships become relevant in regard to young adolescents' academic achievement and motivation. For example, adolescents' secure parental attachment may allow them to achieve a sense of academic competence, as well as actual school achievement, by providing them with a secure emotional foundation. Early adolescents may also perceive themselves more positively, as well as more competent, by virtue of the strength and security of the attachment relationship (Eccles & Midgley, 1990; Paterson, Field, & Pryor, 1994).

Adolescence is popularly characterized as a life stage involving greater separation and independence from parents. However, Collins (1990) has suggested that the relationship between parents and early adolescents instead undergoes a transformation in which roles change. In this sense, the parent-adolescent attachment relationship is renegotiated rather than ended. Similarly, Paterson, Field, and Pryor (1994) found that early adolescents utilize their parents more often than friends for support, when compared to older adolescents. These researchers also found that, even as attachments to peers became more intense, both younger and older adolescents sought support from parents and continued to consider parents as important people in their lives.

Support from, and attachment to, parents can be especially beneficial when youths make the transition from elementary school to junior high school. This transition can generate new stresses and challenges, and having a secure base and a sense of emotional security may ease the difficulty of this process. However, few studies have examined the parent-adolescent attachment relationship during this transition. One study (Papini & Roggman, 1992) found that youths who reported strong attachment relationships with their parents also reported less physical and social anxiety during the transition to junior high school. In other words, the emotional and psychological support these early adolescents directly received from parents worked to buffer the anxieties created by this transition.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Perceptions of Autonomy Support, Parent Attachment, Competence and Self-Worth as Predictors of Motivational Orientation and Academic Achievement: An Examination of Sixth- and Ninth-Grade Regular Education Students
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?