The relationships between academic self-efficacy, intrinsic motivation, and perceived competence

Robert Buch 1 , Reidar Säfvenbom 2  and Ole Boe 3
  • 1 Associate Professor, researcher at Department of Physical Education, Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, Norway
  • 2 Associate Professor, Norwegian Defence University College, Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, Defence Institute, Norway
  • 3 Associate Professor, Norwegian Military Academy, Department of Leadership and Tactics, Norway


This study investigated the moderating role of intrinsic motivation for military studies on the relationship between academic self-efficacy and change in perceived military competence. We present two concurrent hypotheses based on theoretical interaction effects of intrinsic motivation. Data from 245 cadets from three military academies revealed a positive relationship between self-efficacy and an increase in perceived military competence only for cadets with lower levels of intrinsic motivation. This suggests that, with lower intrinsic motivation, beliefs about one’s capabilities to organize and take courses of action to attain certain goals may make a crucial difference in cadets’ compliance to exert effort to increase their military competence. In contrast, self-efficacy seems less important for increased perception of military competence in cadets with higher intrinsic motivation. These cadets probably increase their military competence mainly as a result of the pleasure they gain when engaging in educational activities. Implications for theory and practice are discussed.

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