2022 Undergraduate Research Showcase

Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date


Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Eric Martin


Self-Determination Theory posits that motivation is determined by the fulfilment of three basic needs; competence, relatedness, and autonomy (Deci and Ryan, 1985, 2002). These types of motivation range from external (extrinsic motivation) to internal (intrinsic) and the type of motivation one has for an activity will significantly influence the quality of participation and the outcomes received from engagement. Grit, or “the perseverance and passion for long-term goals despite obstacles (Duckworth et al., 2007)”, might be one construct that also helps predict quality of motivation and outcomes from engagement. In the sport environment, motivation type and grit level could influence sport achievement, and ultimately the level of achievement as measured by scholarship status in sport. Previous research has shown that scholarship status was related to motivation (Ryan, 1977), but more recent studies have indicated that instead of scholarship status it might be coaching behavior that is related to motivation (Amorose & Horn, 2000). Therefore, the aim of our study was to further investigate the relationship between scholarship status and motivation type, as well as investigated how grit was related to the other study constructs. In total, 264 athletes from a Northwestern university in the United States completed a survey that assessed scholarship status, Grit (Duckworth et al., 2007) and motivation (Behavioral Regulation in Sport Questionnaire’ Lonsdale et al., 2008). Athletes in the sample had high levels of grit and intrinsic motivation and lower levels of more extrinsic forms of motivation. The relationship between scholarship status and motivation type and grit levels were non-significant. Intrinsic motivation was positively related, and extrinsic motivation was negatively related to grit levels. The study results support that scholarship status does not directly influence motivation and the significant relationships between grit and motivation deserve further study.



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