An Instrument to Measure Health Professional Motivation—Description and Review

Publication ID Published Volume
9406 May 3, 2013 9


Using the construct “achievement goals” derived from motivation theory, the authors developed and validated an instrument which measures motivation among learners in health professions who: 1.Prefer a mastery achievement goal orientation, 2.Use metacognitive learning strategies, 3.Evidence an internal locus of control, and 4.Are willing to take on difficult tasks in order to increase their knowledge. The tool is a faculty administered paper-based questionnaire designated as the Modified Archer Health Profession Motivation Survey (MAHPMS). Our IRB-approved study results confirmed the instrument’s reliability and valid use for health professionals.

In our initial study we validated the MAHPMS. It was conducted by clinical faculty from the UAMS Colleges of Medicine, Nursing, and Pharmacy. Subjects included 252 students in the first year of their professional programs of which 240 responded (95%); 143 were medical students, 45 were nursing students, and 52 were pharmacy students. [1] 
Our factor analysis confirmed Archer’s confirmed factor analysis. Reported reliability coefficients for the MAHPMS were α = 0.87 for the goal orientation scale, α = 0.73 for the locus of control scale, and α = 0.62 for the learning strategies scale. [1]

In 1999 the authors investigated whether medical student motivation changed over time. The MAHPMS was administered in August of 1999, then again in March of the following year, to 146 medical students in the first year of a traditional curriculum. Results of this study indicated that most students (82%) showed a statistically significant decrease in their preference for mastery and internal locus of control items, as well as a significant increase in academic alienation. [3]

At the same time the authors conducted a study to determine whether a shift in pharmacy student goal orientation occurred during their professional education. The MAHPMS was administered to 81 first-year pharmacy students in the fall semester of 1999 and then again in the spring semester. Results indicated that over the course of the year, student scores on the mastery scale decreased and scores on the academic alienation scale increased. Students also exhibited an average decrease on the internal locus of control scores. Findings suggested that although the students’ goal orientation remained mastery, they were shifting from this goal orientation to academic alienation. [4]

Finally, the authors assessed the potential of the MAHPMS for measuring and identifying lifelong learning attributes at the graduate medical education level by determining whether these attributes were present in a group of 146 family practice residents in the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) Department of Family & Community Medicine, and six affiliated Area Health Education Centers (AHECs) during the 2001-02 academic year. [5]. Findings confirmed that most residents in the study reported a mastery goal orientation preference and internal locus of control, and most would select difficult tasks and use metacognitive learning strategies.


Perrot L, Deloney L. An instrument to measure health professional motivation—description and review. MedEdPORTAL Publications. 2013;9:9406.

Educational Objectives

To provide an instrument that measures health professional motivation.


  • Motivation, Internal Locus of Control, Metacognition

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ISSN 2374-8265