Emotions, values, and engagement: Understanding motivation of first-generation college students

Goldman et al. / Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Psychology / May 2021

The current study is an initial exploration of the relationship of academic emotions and task values to first-generation college students and to explore the relation of these generational differences to a particular form of deep engagement represented by transformative experience (TE; i.e., transformation of the way students see and experience the world as a consequence of learning school content; Pugh, Educational Psychologist, 2011, 46, 107–121). Positive and negative emotions, along with task values, toward material have been shown to lead to different levels of engagement. Data were collected from undergraduate students in introductory psychology courses (N = 506). The results of this study suggest that intrinsic, utility, and achievement values positively predicted engagement in TE. The authors also found that first-generation college students experienced significantly more negative emotions than continuing generation students. The theoretical implications of these results and future applications are discussed.