Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Graduation

Spring 2012

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Department of Graduate Psychology


Abstract Expectancy-Value Theory (EVT) (Eccles et al., 1983) offers one of the most influential models for understanding motivation. One component of this theory, cost, can be defined as how much a student has to sacrifice to engage in a task. However, EVT researchers appear to have forgotten the component of cost. Though cost has been theorized as an important component of EVT, empirical work has neglected to measure and study it (Wigfield & Cambria, 2010). As a result, cost and its relationship with student outcomes is largely unknown (Wigfield & Eccles, 2000). The focus of the current study is to address this shortcoming in the literature by reviewing what is currently known about cost and proposing a new scale to measure it. Scale development for cost was an iterative process, guided by Benson’s framework for construct validation (Benson, 1998). The first iteration adopted a top-down approach by conducting an in-depth analysis of the history of EVT and its measurement in educational psychology, as well as cost-related constructs in other literatures in psychology. I used theory and past literature to determine the initial theoretical structure of cost. In the second iteration of scale development, I adopted a bottom-up approach by evaluating data from an exploratory, qualitative study. In the final iteration, the content validity of the proposed scale was investigated using input from a panel of experts. The conclusion of this project offers 36 items to measure numerous components of cost. I offer suggestions for future research to determine the structural and external validity of the scale.

Included in

Psychology Commons



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