ERIC Number: ED231508
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-Apr
Reference Count: 0
Internalization and Motivation: Some Preliminary Research and Theoretical Speculations.
Ryan, Richard M.; And Others
The character of internalization as a continuous phenomenon was explored, with particular attention given to children's movement from heteronomy to autonomy. (The term "internalization" refers to the process by which an individual acquires an attitude, belief, or behavioral regulation from external sources and progressively transforms it into a personal value, goal, or organization.) When 121 children between 5 and 13 years of age were asked to give reasons for doing chores, their responses were found to be classifiable according to three motivational categories: extrinsic, transitional, and internalized reasons. The more that children felt it was important to do chores (or follow parental rules), the more likely they were to give internalized reasons for performing them and the less likely they were to give extrinsic reasons. To study children's internalization of achievement-related behaviors and goals, a sample of 245 elementary school students in third through sixth grades were asked to give reasons for such behaviors as "doing homework." A range of individual differences was found, and a lawful pattern of correlations emerged between various levels of internalization. Results further indicated that higher levels of internalization were associated with lower anxiety and a positive style of coping with setbacks or failures. Findings suggested that excessive external pressure on children by parents and other "socializers" may have an unintended deleterious effect upon internalization. (RH)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Continuous Variables; Continuum Models; Internalization; Parenting; Self Regulation
Note: Paper presented at the Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development (50th, Detroit, MI, April 21-24, 1983).