Individualized Behavioral Assessments and Maternal Ratings of Mastery Motivation in Mental Age-Matched Toddlers with and without Motor Delay
Mastery motivation is a precursor of future developmental outcomes. Evidence about whether toddlers with motor delay have lower mastery motivation is inconclusive.
The purpose of his study was to examine differences between mental age-matched toddlers with and without motor delay on various mastery motivation indicators. A mental age- and sex-matched case-control study was performed. Twenty-two children with motor delay, aged 23 to 47 months, and 22 childen who were developing typically, aged 15 to 29 months, were recruited. Persistence and mastery pleasure were measured with behavioral tasks that were moderately challenging for each child and with maternal ratings using the Dimensions of Mastery Questionnaire (DMQ). The DMQ was rated by each child's mother based on her perception of her child's motivation. Two types of structured tasks (a puzzle and a cause-effect toy selected to be moderately challenging for each child) were administered in a laboratory setting and recorded on videos. Paired t tests or Wilcoxon signed rank tests were used to examine group differences in persistence and mastery pleasure.
Children with motor delay were rated lower on DMQ persistence than the typically developing group, but they did not show significantly lower persistence on the structured tasks. There were no significant differences in mastery pleasure between the two groups on either measure. Toddlers with motor delay did not show longer persistence and pleasure when given tasks that were moderately challenging; however, their mothers tended to view them as having lower motivation. Clinicans and parents should provide appropriately challenging tasks to increase children's success and motivation.
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