Self‐esteem, motivation and school attendance among sub‐Saharan African girls: A self‐determination theory perspective

Marieke Christina Egmond, Katja Hanke, Tariq Tobias Omarshah, Andrés Navarrete Berges, Valerio Zango, Celine Sieu
Published Online:
08 Jan 2020

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Sub‐Saharan samples are severely under‐represented in the psychological literature. Taking an ecological approach, the current study examines key propositions derived from self‐determination theory in a sample of adolescent girls in Mozambique. As a framework theory, self‐determination theory consists of six sub‐theories. We test the main premises of two of these theories: organismic integration theory and basic psychological need theory. In line with organismic integration theory, we assess the role of intrinsic, extrinsic, introjected and identified motivation for school attendance. We also test the possible moderating role of the ecological variable resource scarcity. The second part of the study focuses on the main premise of the basic psychological need sub‐theory, which states that satisfaction of the needs for relatedness, competence and autonomy underlies intrinsic motivation, goal‐directed behaviour (school attendance) and well‐being (self‐esteem). The study also assesses the moderation of resource scarcity in these relationships. Results provide support for both sub‐theories of self‐determination theory. Resource scarcity is not found to moderate the relationships between motivation and attendance or between need satisfaction and well‐being, motivation and attendance. Implications for the universality claim of self‐determination theory, as well as for the field of international development aid, are discussed.

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