The Role of Basic Need Satisfaction for Motivation and Self-Regulated Learning During COVID-19: A Longitudinal Study

Elisabeth Rosa Pelikan, Luisa Grützmacher, Katharina Hager, Julia Holzer, Selma Korlat, Martin Mayerhofer, Barbara Schober, Christiane Spiel, Marko Lüftenegger

Publications: Contribution to journalArticlePeer Reviewed


Higher education institutions in Austria switched to emergency distance learning in March 2020 to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Due to the sudden change, students and instructors scarcely had time to adjust to the new demands. Initial cross-sectional studies pointed to the risks of emergency distance learning for students’ intrinsic motivation, self-regulation, and learning behavior. We investigated the longitudinal effects between the satisfaction of the basic psychological needs (competence, autonomy, and social relatedness), intrinsic motivation, and self-regulated learning, applying a cross-lagged panel model. A sample of N = 3,286 students answered four online questionnaires between April 2020 and July 2021. All measured constructs remained stable during that time span. The satisfaction of the basic needs was cross-sectionally related to intrinsic motivation. We found no cross-lagged effects on intrinsic motivation. Self-regulated learning showed small but significant cross-lagged positive effects on intrinsic motivation at all time points. Implications and future research perspectives are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)228-238
Number of pages11
JournalZeitschrift für Psychologie
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jul 2023

Austrian Fields of Science 2012

  • 501016 Educational psychology


  • basic need satisfaction
  • COVID-19
  • higher education
  • self-determination theory
  • self-regulated learning

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