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Research Article  |   March 1999
The Effect of Keeping an End-Product on Intrinsic Motivation
Author Affiliations
  • Susan Murphy, MS, OTR/L, is Doctoral Candidate, Occupational Therapy Department, Boston University, 635 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts 02215
  • Catherine Trombly, ScD, OTR/L, FAOTA, is Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy, Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts
  • Linda Tickle-Degnen, PhD, OTR/L, is Assistant Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy, Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts
  • Karen Jacobs, EdD, OTR/L, CPE, FAOTA, is Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy, Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts
Article Information
Mental Health
Research Article   |   March 1999
The Effect of Keeping an End-Product on Intrinsic Motivation
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, March/April 1999, Vol. 53, 153-158. doi:10.5014/ajot.53.2.153
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, March/April 1999, Vol. 53, 153-158. doi:10.5014/ajot.53.2.153
Abstract

Objective. According to literature in occupational therapy and psychology, intrinsic motivation is thought to be enhanced if people can keep the end-product of an activity. The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of keeping an end-product on intrinsic motivation.

Method. Fifty participants chose one of four activities (painting a ceramic vase, decorating cookies, stringing beads for a necklace, creating stationery) and performed two conditions (keep, no-keep) in counterbalanced order. Participants were timed in each condition and, after each condition, ranked their self-determination and competence, which are psychological needs underlying intrinsic motivation. Participants were interviewed at the end of the study to examine their experiences.

Results. Participants worked significantly longer on a chosen activity when the end-product could be kept and rated themselves significantly more self-determined and competent after performing the keep condition. However, further analysis revealed that these results depended on the activity chosen.

Conclusion. The findings support that keeping an end-product can enhance performance of an activity. However, because results were not consistent across all activity choices, further research is needed to characterize the meaningfulness of particular activities.