The influence of gender and environmental variables on motivation

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Motivation is one of the most widely researched concepts in the area of second language learning and acquisition. Nevertheless, little is known about how motivation is influenced by environmental variables such as socioeconomic background, geographical location and gender.
This project aims to investigate the motivation to learn English as a foreign language of Polish pupils aged 15-16 attending compulsory education in their own country. 240 pupils (122 female, 112 male, 4 participants missing gender data) coming from different socioeconomic backgrounds and living in urban and rural areas completed the motivational questionnaire. The questionnaire contained 12 scales, some of which assessed constructs that have been frequently used in language learning motivation research such instrumentality, parental encouragement and Dörnyei’s (2005) concept of the Ideal L2 Self. The questionnaire also contained new scales measuring constructs adapted from general educational psychology such as self-concept, self-efficacy, and intrinsic motivation. The questionnaire contained two criterion measures, namely motivated behaviour and self-regulation. The regression analysis of the above factors showed that the best predictors of the participants’ self regulation were intrinsic motivation, motivated behaviour and the Ideal L2 Self, whereas motivated behaviour was predicted solely by self-regulation. The t-tests and ANOVA univariance tests revealed that pupils’ motivation was heavily influenced by non-linguistics factors. Female pupils were found to score significantly higher on most of the variables involved. The analysis also showed the advantage of pupils coming from middle-class families over the ones coming from lower class families. Similarly, pupils from urban areas scored higher on some scales than students from rural areas.
Dörnyei, Z. (2005). The psychology of the language learner : individual differences in second language acquisition. Mahwah, N.J.: L. Erlbaum.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2011
EventEUROSLA: 21st Annual Conference of the European Second Language Association - University of Stockholm, Stockholm, UK United Kingdom
Duration: 8 Sept 201110 Sept 2011


ConferenceEUROSLA: 21st Annual Conference of the European Second Language Association
Country/TerritoryUK United Kingdom


  • gender
  • motivation
  • Polish context


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