Vol. 4 No. 2 (1994)

A Study of Achievement Motivation Among Adolescents in Trinidad and Tobago: Personal and Systemic Factors

Peter Kutnick
Roehampton Institute, London


  • Achievement Need,
  • Secondary School Students,
  • Social Factors,
  • Trinidad and Tobago


Achievement motivation has been critically studied for personal and social factors that explain its varied occurrence in society in both developed and developing countries. This study focuses on a country which hopes to use an expanding educational system to provide for increasingly democratic access to educational achievement - strongly correlated to achievement motivation - for national development. The study questions whether achievement motivation is better explained by individual/family factors or the broad stratification founded in society and its schools. Five hundred and fifty eight fifth form pupils were surveyed from 8 government-funded schools. Schools represented the stratified hierarchy of secondary schools in Trinidad and Tobago. Data collected from each pupil included achievement motivation score, rank in class, age, sex, religion, birth placement, paternal and maternal occupations, and subjects studied. Significant differences in achievement motivation scores were found due to paternal occupation, type of school attended, and subject studied. Regression and path analyses showed paternal occupation significantly affected school - and school type - attended, and both paternal occupation and school attended affected achievement motivation.