Culture, motivation, and reading achievement: High school students in 41 countries

Ming Ming CHIU, Bonnie Wing Yin CHOW

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58 Citations (Scopus)


This study examined how cultural values and family cultural capital were linked to adolescents' motivation and reading achievement using multilevel analyses on reading tests and questionnaire responses of 193,841 fifteen-year-olds in 41 countries. In countries that valued more rigid gender roles, girls had lower reading achievement than girls in other countries. Also, the link between extrinsic motivation and achievement was weaker for both boys and girls in more masculine countries than those in other countries, supporting the view that discouraging students from their preferred non-traditional career tracks reduces competition for the remaining students. This reduces the impact of extrinsic motivation on reading achievement for both types of students. Students with more family cultural capital (cultural possessions and cultural communication) had higher interest in reading, extrinsic motivation, effort and perseverance, and higher reading achievement than other students. These findings can inform education policy to improve students' reading achievement. Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Inc.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)579-592
JournalLearning and Individual Differences
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2010



Chiu, M. M., & Chow, B. W. Y. (2010). Culture, motivation, and reading achievement: High school students in 41 countries. Learning and Individual Differences, 20(6), 579-592.


  • Family structure
  • Cultural capital
  • Reading achievement
  • Motivation
  • Cross-cultural studies