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Psychological foundations of motive for participation in adult education Haag, Ulrich F. E.

Abstract

This study investigated the extent to which motivational characteristics influence an adult's decision to engage in an education program. The purpose of the study was to determine the efficacy of a growth-deficiency model of motives for participation in adult education programs, and to determine the concurrent validity of the Education Participation Scale as a measure of growth or deficiency motivation. Few theoretical models have been developed to explain why people participate in adult education courses. Combining adult life cycle concepts, Maslow's motivational concepts, and research by Boshier, a growth-deficiency model of motives for participation was described. Growth or deficiency motivation was hypothesized as being associated with continuous or sporadic participation in adult education. It was also hypothesized that the age or stage of the life cycle and the socio-economic status of participants are associated with growth or deficiency motivation. The model was tested with 240 Richmond adult education participants. Subjects completed a socio-demographic questionnaire, the Eysenck Personality Inventory, (E.P.I.) the Seif- Actualizing Values (S.A.V.) subscale of the Personal Orientation Inventory, (P.O.I.) and the revised Education Participation Scale, (E.P.S.). E.P.S. data was subject to factor analysis and orthogonal rotation with six factors being produced. E.P.I. Neuroticism scores, S.A.V. scores, and E.P.S. factor scores were related through correlation and analysis of variance to variables such as age, participation index, educational attainment, occupational status, personal and family income, course content, marital status and sex. The results indicate that continuous learners tended to be growth motivated while sporadic learners tended to be deficiency motivated. Older participants, in comparison to younger participants, were growth motivated while younger participants were deficiency motivated. High socio-economic status participants tended to be growth motivated while low socio-economic status participants tended to be deficiency motivated. The findings generally confirm the growth/ deficiency model, but further research is required to clarify the motivational orientations of adults, 55 years of age and older, as an insufficient number of older adults were represented in the sample.

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