Students who want to contribute to society have optimal learning-related outcomes

Ronnel Bornasal KING, Hui WANG, Dennis Michael MCINERNEY

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


One of education’s primary goals is to cultivate citizens who want to contribute to society. However, surprisingly little research has been conducted on how students’ desire to contribute to society is related to crucial learning-related outcomes. The aim of this study was to examine how the desire to contribute to one’s society, which we call societal motivation for shorthand, is associated with optimal learning-related outcomes such as self-regulated learning, deep learning, and achievement. The sample included 8,773 secondary school students from Hong Kong. The mean age of the students was 13.28 (SD = 1.09) years old. Students were asked to respond to self-reported surveys and answer achievement tests across two-time points, one year apart. Structural equation modeling was used to analyze the data. Results indicated that Time 1 societal motivation positively predicted Time 2 self-regulated learning and deep learning. These associations held despite controlling for auto-regressive effects and other relevant covariates such as Time 1 goals (mastery, performance, social, and extrinsic) and demographic variables. Our results showed that societal motivation is associated with optimal learning-related outcomes. This paper has theoretical implications for educational research by showing that societal motivation is an important yet neglected aspect of student motivation. Copyright © 2022 Informa UK Limited.
Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Journal of Experimental Education
Early online date20 Dec 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 20 Dec 2022


King, R. B., Wang, H., & McInerney, D. M. (2022). Students who want to contribute to society have optimal learning-related outcomes. The Journal of Experimental Education. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1080/00220973.2022.2146039


  • Contribute to society
  • Mastery goal
  • Performance goal
  • Self-regulated learning
  • Societal motivation


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