The stability of mastery motivation and its relationship with home environment in infants and toddlers

Infant Behav Dev. 2011 Jun;34(3):434-42. doi: 10.1016/j.infbeh.2011.04.005. Epub 2011 May 31.


Mastery motivation (intrinsic drives to explore and master one's environment) is a key developmental element. The aims of this study were to investigate (1) the stability of mastery motivation between 2 and 3 years of age for two genders; and (2) the associations between early home environment and toddlers' mastery motivation in children with typical development.

Methods: Data of 102 children developing typically from a birth cohort study at Northern Taiwan were analyzed in two parts: (1) stability part: mastery motivation of children were measured at 2 and 3 years of age; (2) environment part: child-parent dyads were assessed from birth, 4 months, 6 months, and 2-3 years of age. Outcomes variables were measured at ages 2 and 3 years by the Dimension of Mastery Questionnaire-17th version. Main predictive variables were measured by Home Observation for Measuring Environment Inventory (HOME) to collect data of the qualities of home environment at 6 months and 2 years; by the Revised Infant Temperament Questionnaire to obtain 4-month activity levels; and by the Comprehensive Developmental Inventory for Infants and Toddlers to obtain 2-year developmental quotient (DQ).

Results: There was moderate stability of mastery motivation from 2 to 3 years, and girls' stability was higher than boys'. 6-Month HOME rather than 2-year HOME measures were positively and significantly correlated with instrumental mastery motivation even when controlling for gender, activity level, and DQ.

Conclusion: Mastery motivation had moderate stability during the toddler period. The quality of home environment in infancy appeared to have a significant impact on toddler's mastery motivation. To promote mastery motivation, caregivers should provide better quality of home environment for infants/toddlers during the very early years.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Child Development / physiology*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cognition / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Learning / physiology*
  • Male
  • Motivation / physiology*
  • Social Environment*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires