An investigation into the relationship between birth-order and levels of self-efficacy and motivation in emerging adulthood

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Kavanagh, Caoimhe
Issue Date
BA (Hons) in Psychology
Dublin Business School
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The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between birth-order and levels of self-efficacy and motivation in emerging adulthood, and to discover whether gender differences exist between these variables. In a cross-sectional correlational design, 100 individuals, 39 males and 61 females participated in this study. A purpose-designed questionnaire, the General Self-Efficacy Scale (Schwarzer & Jerusalem, 1995) and the Global Motivation Scales (Guay, Mageau & Vallerand, 2003), were compiled into an online booklet using The predictor variable was an individuals’ birth-order (youngest, middle, oldest or only child) and the criterion variables were sub-scales of the Global Motivation Scale including intrinsic motivation towards knowledge, accomplishment and stimulation, and external, interjected and identified regulations and a-motivation, and also subscales of the General Self-Efficacy Scale which included perceived self-efficacy, goal-setting, effort investment, persistence and the ability to recover from various set-backs. No significant relationships were found between birth order and self-efficacy, nor with birth-order and motivation. Therefore, the null hypotheses were accepted. However, it was found that only children scored the highest on both the General Self-Efficacy Scale and the Global Motivation Scale, while youngest children scored the lowest on both scales. This investigation did yield information that could be useful in future research with regard to limitations such as not accounting for twins in the demographic questionnaire. Although no significant results were found, there is existing research to support the null hypotheses.