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Motivation and social contexts : A crossnational pilot study of achievement, power, and affiliation motives
journal contributionposted on 01.01.2012, 00:00 authored by X Xu, Y Xu, David MellorDavid Mellor, L Duan
Previous research suggests that there is a relationship between social contexts (e.g., economic growth, engagement in wars) and motives within populations. In particular, high achievement motive is associated with subsequent economic growth, which in turn increases power motive. Increased national achievement and power motives have been argued to precede social changes that lead to decreased affiliation motives, and engagement in wars. The present study aimed to examine differences in achievement, power, and affiliation motives between 266 college students in China (a nation with sustained high economic growth) and 255 college students in the USA (a nation with previously strong but now slowing economic growth, and engaged in war). Analysis of personal strivings suggested that Chinese college students showed significantly higher levels of achievement motive than the American college students, but American college students showed significantly higher levels of affiliation motive than Chinese college students. Overall, males exhibited higher achievement motivation than females. No significant interaction effects were found for gender by location for any of the three motives. The findings are discussed in relation to previous research.