Date of Award

Spring 2017


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Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS) in Psychology: General/Experimental




Self-determination can be characterized as one’s own effort to perform a task without any external force. Distraction by cell phones, social media or television during online course work, study time, or in the workplace can negatively impact performance and attention. The aim of the current study was to explore the relationship between students’ intrinsic motivations, their tendency to study with distractions present, and their overall academic success. Participants consisted of 215 undergraduate students in online psychology courses. Participants completed the Needs Assessment Questionnaire, and gave self-reports about their usage of their cell phone, social media, and television during study. The students’ final percent in their course served as the dependent variable. The hypotheses were that “Overall Percent in Class” would be (1) lower among participants who reported more distractions while studying; (2) lower among participants who were higher in the need for affiliation and who study with distractions present; and (3) higher among participants who were higher in the needs for autonomy and achievement, and who had lower distraction scores. A multivariate analysis of variance failed to support these hypotheses, but significant main effects and interactions were found among several variables.

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Psychology Commons