Institute of Art Design + Technology
Dún Laoghaire

Kate Connolly 

BSc [Hons] Applied Psychology

I am a final year Applied Psychology student at IADT. I chose to do the practice path and the main areas of the course that have interested me the most are educational psychology and positive psychology. Over the last two years I have volunteered with organisations which support children with additional needs. I hope to continue to gain experience in this area and hopefully complete a masters in educational psychology in the future.

Project Overview

The previous literature has shown that gratitude and life satisfaction are positively associated with well-being, happiness and reduced stress. Therefore, research has emerged studying the potential impact of gratitude and life satisfaction on academic motivation. However, the research surrounding this topic has yielded mixed results. Therefore, the present study further investigated the relationship between gratitude, life satisfaction and academic motivation to build on previous research. Participants were undergraduate students and were recruited through social media and on the IADT college campus. They were presented with three scales measuring their level of gratitude, life satisfaction, and academic motivation. The data collected was then statistically analysed and the results were discussed in relation to previous literature.

Project Description

Previous research has identified gratitude and life satisfaction as factors that can potentially influence academic motivation. However, this topic is understudied and the research findings are inconsistent. The aim of the present study was to investigate the relationship between gratitude, life satisfaction, and academic motivation in undergraduate students. A quantitative, cross-sectional design was employed, and an online survey was distributed to undergraduate college students using convenience and snowball sampling. Participants identified as male, female and non-binary and ranged from 18-60 years of age (M = 20.95 years, SD = 4.12 years). Participants were asked to complete the gratitude six-item questionnaire (GQ-6), the satisfaction with life scale (SWLS) and the short academic motivation scale (SAMS). Data from 124 undergraduate students was collected and statistically analysed.

Project Findings

The results of this study suggested that the more grateful undergraduate students felt, the more likely they were to be academically motivated. Additionally, the more satisfied students were with their lives, the more likely they were to feel academically motivated. A stronger correlation occurred between gratitude and intrinsic motivation which suggests that being grateful was related to the motivation to engage in academic activities for the satisfaction of learning and accomplishment rather than external reasons such as parental expectations or to gain a reward. Life satisfaction was more positively correlated with extrinsic motivation which implies that increased satisfaction with life was associated with participation in academic activities for external rewards. A multiple regression analysis indicated that gratitude was a significant predictor of academic motivation and that 15.1% of the variance in academic motivation scores was attributed to gratitude and life satisfaction. However, life satisfaction was not found to be a significant predictor of academic motivation when the effects of gratitude remained constant. The findings of this study may be useful for college lecturers and educators as identifying predictors of academic motivation and understanding what factors increase academic motivation may help educators find ways to increase students' success and academic performance.