Motivational profiles and their relationships with basic psychological needs, academic performance, study strategies, self-esteem, and vitality in dental students in Chile

Cesar A. Orsini, Vivian I. Binnie, Jorge A. Tricio

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Purpose: To determine dental students’ motivational profiles through a person-centred approach and to analyse the associations with the satisfaction of their basic psychological needs, study strategies, academic performance, self-esteem, and vitality.  
Methods: A total of 924 students from the University of San Sebastian (Chile) participated in this cross-sectional cor¬relational study in spring 2016. Data were collected through 5 self-reported instruments, in addition to students’ academic performance. The Cronbach alpha, descriptive statistics, and correla¬tion scores were computed. A k-means cluster analysis with intrinsic and controlled motivation was conducted to identify different mo-tivational profiles. Subsequently, multivariate analysis of covariance controlling for the effects of gender and year of study was carried out to assess differences among the retained motivational profiles and learning variables.  
Results: All instruments showed acceptable Cronbach alpha scores. A 4-cluster solution was retained for the motivational profile over a 3- or 5-cluster solution. Students’ motiva-tional profiles were characterized by different degrees of intrinsic and controlled motivation. The high intrinsic motivation groups showed higher perceptions of their basic psychological, a greater propensity for a deep rather than surface study strategy, better academic performance, and higher scores for self-esteem and vitality than the low intrinsic motivation groups, regardless of the degree of controlled motivation.  
Conclusion: Students with a high intrinsic motivation profile, regardless of their controlled motivation scores, reported better learning characteristics. Therefore, special attention should be paid to students’ motivational profiles, as the quality of motivation might serve as a basis for interventions to support their academic success and well-being.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Educational Evaluation for Health Professions
Early online date19 Apr 2018
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2018


  • Chile
  • Dental students
  • Motivation
  • Personal satisfaction
  • Self concept

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