Date of Award

Spring 2012

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Psychology and Behavioral Sciences

First Advisor

Eric Deemer


Previous research suggests that the majority of clinical and counseling psychology doctoral students report low levels of research interest while in graduate school, and indicate little or no intention to pursue postdoctoral research despite having been trained within a scientist-practitioner model. Contextual and individual factors related to research interest, such as the research training environment (RTE) and self-efficacy, have been identified as potential contributors to research outcomes. Although these variables seem to be linked, many studies have found that they do not account for a substantial portion of variation in research interest. Recently, Deemer, Martens, and Buboltz (2010) developed the Research Motivation Scale (RMS) to explore underlying motivational dispositions that may be predictive of doctoral students' research interest. Their measure included three subscales: Failure Avoidance (FA), Intrinsic Reward (IR), and Extrinsic Reward (ER). The primary purposes of the present study were to obtain further evidence for the factor structure of the RMS using a sample of clinical and counseling psychology doctoral students, and to examine the relationship between types of motivation and research interest.

It was hypothesized that research motives, as measured by the scales of the RMS, would be significant predictors of research interest above and beyond the RTE. Results of factor analyses provided additional evidence for the factor structure of the RMS in a new sample of clinical and counseling psychology doctoral students. Hierarchical regression analyses demonstrated that IR and ER were significant positive predictors of research interest above and beyond gender and RTE among counseling and clinical psychology students as well as the overall sample. FA was found to be a significant negative predictor of research interest in counseling students, but not of clinical psychology students. Overall, these findings lend support to the theory that underlying research motives may play an important role in predicting counseling and clinical psychology doctoral students' participation in research in their careers. Understanding the variables that predict doctoral students' desire to engage in research while in graduate school and beyond will help training programs improve their methods of training students as both scientists and practitioners.