Document Type


Date of Degree


Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Psychological and Quantitative Foundations

First Advisor

David F. Lohman

Second Advisor

Steven B. Robbins


This study investigated the roles of the psychosocial factors (PSFs) of motivation, social control, and self-regulation, in the prediction of 10th grade academic achievement for a large sample of 8th grade students. The differential effects of PSFs for male and female students with different levels of 8th grade achievement were also examined. Of the 4,660 middle-school students in the ACT database, 1,384 8th grade students were included in the study. The Student Readiness Inventory-Middle School (SRI-MS) was used to assess three broad PSFs based on ten scales, which were named motivation (consisting of Academic Discipline, Commitment to School, and Optimism), social control (consisting of Family Attitude toward Education and Family Involvement, Relationships with School Personnel, and School Safety Climate), and self-regulation (consisting of Managing Feelings, Orderly Conduct, and Thinking before Acting). The students' EXPLORE and PLAN Composite scores served as measures of initial and later academic achievement, respectively. Multiple regression models were constructed for each PSF to test the hypotheses. Post hoc probing techniques were used if significant interaction terms were found. If no significant interaction terms were found, the effects of PSFs on achievement gains were examined using a psychosocial mediation model.

The results showed that 8th grade females demonstrated greater motivation, social control, and self-regulation than 8th grade males. Also, motivation and social control each interacted significantly with sex and 8th grade achievement when predicting 10th grade achievement. Specifically, among female students, effects were positive for females with higher prior achievement and negative for females with lower prior achievement for both motivation and social control. For male students, neither motivation nor social control added significantly to the prediction of later achievement. There were no interactions between self-regulation and either sex or prior achievement. Instead, self-regulation partially mediated the effects of initial achievement when predicting later academic achievement.


motivation, psychosocial factors, self-regulation, social control, the Matthew effect


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Copyright 2011 Yi-Lung Kuo