Changing interests: A longitudinal study of intrinsic motivation for personally salient activities

Seth J. Schwartz, Alan S. Waterman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


The present longitudinal study extends the findings of earlier cross-sectional studies (Waterman, Schwartz, Green, Miller, & Philip, 2003) on the subjective experience of intrinsic motivation. University students generated lists of personally salient (identity-related) activities at the beginning of an academic semester and were asked to evaluate these activities at three points during the semester. Drawing on theories of intrinsic motivation, three subjective indices of intrinsic motivation (interest, flow experiences, and feelings of personal expressiveness) and three theoretically derived predictor variables (self-determination, the balance of challenges and skills, and self-realization values) were used in the present study. Cross-sectional relationships between the predictors and subjective experience indices at each timepoint replicated those observed in previous research. Hierarchical linear modeling was used to demonstrate that, as hypothesized, increases or decreases in the predictor variables between timepoints were associated with corresponding increases or decreases in the subjective experience indices. Implications for the study of intrinsic motivation are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1119-1136
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Research in Personality
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2006


  • Flow
  • Interest
  • Intrinsic motivation
  • Longitudinal study
  • Personal expressiveness
  • Self-determination
  • Self-realization values

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


Dive into the research topics of 'Changing interests: A longitudinal study of intrinsic motivation for personally salient activities'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this