Date of Award

Summer 2007

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Committee Director

Donald D. Davis

Committee Member

Terry L. Dickinson

Committee Member

Debra A. Major

Committee Member

Stephen W. Tonelson


The purpose of this study was to design and empirically test a parsimonious integrative motivation theory. The theory integrates aspects of expectancy theory, social cognitive theory, goal-setting theory, and commitment theory. The theory was tested with 170 undergraduate, students in an introductory computer science (CS) course.

The study tested relationships among the following variables: CS self-efficacy, mathematics ability, affective commitment to the CS class, goal orientation, effort, and performance. The study also tested the interactive effects of effort and ability on performance. Structural equation modeling was used to test the measurement model and a series of nested structural models. Findings supported the proposed integrative motivation theory and most of the hypothesized relationships. Future directions and contributions of this research are discussed.


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