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Competence, autonomy, and relatedness in the classroom: understanding students’ motivational processes using the self-determination theory. Heliyon, 5(7), e01983

The purpose of the current study is to examine the relationships between need satisfaction, motivation, and outcomes as well as the differential effects of the three psychological needs. The sample consisted of 1549 students from 10 secondary schools in Singapore. Structural equation modelling (SEM) analysis showed that students’ psychological needs are positively related to autonomous motivation, and this in turn, lead to higher enjoyment, value and lower pressure. On the other hand, the three psychological needs were negatively related to controlled motivation. Controlled motivation was positively related to pressure but negatively related to enjoyment and value. In terms of the differential effects of the three psychological needs, relatedness contributed strongly to autonomous motivation, compared to autonomy and competence. In contrast, while autonomy and relatedness contributed to controlled motivation negatively, competence positively predicted controlled motivation. Finally, competence was found to link to pressure in a negative way. In summary, the findings of the current study provide support to the propositions of SDT and add some insight to the differential effects of the three psychological needs.

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