Structural Equation Models Examining the Relationships Between the Big Five Personality Factors and the Music Model of Academic Motivation Components

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Virginia Tech


Scholars have long been interested in the complex relationships between personality and motivation. However, much of their understanding has been limited to The Big Five personality factors (namely, Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism), and a proliferation of motivation constructs emanating from a large number of different theories and sub-theories. This study adds to the body of personality psychology and motivation science literature by examining the relationships between The Big Five personality factors and The MUSIC Model of Academic Motivation (MMAM) components (i.e., eMpowerment, Usefulness, Success, Interest, and Caring). The MMAM is comprised of five components that summarize the many instructional implications derived from motivation theories and research to provide instructors with a holistic, conceptual understanding of them. The results of this study may provide evidence as to whether or not the personality traits of college students influence their academic motivation beliefs. To obtain data, I surveyed college students using two self-report instruments. The first instrument, the Big Five Inventory (BFI), measured college students on The Big Five personality factors. The second instrument, the MUSIC Model of Academic Motivation Inventory (MMAMI), measured the academic motivation beliefs of college students as related to the MMAM. Data were obtained from 305 college students at a single university in southwest Virginia enrolled in an online course. Exploratory Factory Analysis (EFA) and Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA) using Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) were used to answer the following research question: To what extent do the Five Factor Model factors relate to the MMAM components? Due to the lack of substantiated knowledge regarding the relationships between The Big Five personality factors and the MMAM components, specific hypotheses were not generated. The measurement models for the Big Five personality factors and the MMAM fit well. However, the structural model, in which the Big Five factors were modeled to predict the MMAM components, did not adequately fit the data for these college students. Yet, there were a number of significant pathways between The Big Five personality factors and the MMAM components. Openness and Conscientiousness had a significant, negative impact on eMpowerment, while Extraversion had a significant, positive impact on eMpowerment, Usefulness, and Interest. Additionally, Agreeableness had a significant, positive impact on Usefulness, Success, Interest, and Caring, while Neuroticism had a significant, negative impact on Success.

Findings indicated that personality factors can relate to or predict academic motivation. In other words, students' academic motivation beliefs are, to a certain degree, influenced by some of their personality traits, and these differences in traits may manifest themselves in the classroom. In the future, researchers could examine the extent to which students with different personality traits display varying preferences as to the types of pedagogical methods or strategies that motivate them academically.



Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, Neuroticism, Empowerment, Usefulness, Success, Interest, Caring