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ROLE OF SOCIAL MATURITY IN CURIOSITY-EXPLORATION AND

ACHIEVEMENT MOTIVATION OF ADOLESCENTS


Anusha Bhandari, Rini Kaushal and Arati Visala J

ABSTRACT
For most adolescents teenage is a tumultuous phase where along with the compulsion to excel in academics,
they also have to face a multitude of difficulties ranging from peer pressure to building harmonious and
functional relationships with family and members of the society. Ones level of social maturity, which
refers to an individuals behavior appropriateness at a given age, is also about developing competencies
such as maintaining interpersonal relationships, social problem solving and judgement, social responsibility
and managing role expectations. One of the least studied phenomenon in adolescents though is the level of
curiosity-exploration which comprises of both the thirst for and medium to gain knowledge. Another factor
which forms a relatively indispensable aspect of an adolescents life is achievement motivation which refers
to a students proclivity towards developing proficient abilities reflected through heightened interest,
diligence and approach. In this particular study the impact which social maturity has on individual
adolescents in context to their level of curiosity-exploration and achievement motivation is measured and
assessed. The sample size for this study is 100 students (50 boys and 50 girls) of the age group 14-17 years.
The various social and behavioral dynamics of the adolescents will be evaluated and analyzed in accordance
with the data obtained. Thus, this study can be helpful in contributing towards positive schooling and how
to enhance social well-being of adolescents.

Key words- Social maturity, curiosity, exploration, motivation, adolescents, achievement

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INTRODUCTION
We often come across adages such as, with age a person will mature. We hear parents say that kids are not
like they used to be when they were young. In earlier times, kids were content with eating a small candy
and did not know of the different varieties, shapes and forms of candy available in the market. They would
explicitly listen to their parents and not contribute in a conversation unless asked to. But the times have
changed. Parents feel that children are better versed in the functioning of the world. They are able to procure
information about various things in ways that they themselves could not. A major reason for this might be
due to the increasing level of maturity. One of the most sought out reasons could be the increasing level of
maturity amongst adolescents.
In the present time, the feeling that maturity is something that is incurred with age is no longer valid. In fact
many psychologists believe that maturity has got nothing to do with a persons age. A five year old may be
more matured than a ten year old. Its got more to do with how a person reacts in a given situation. Whether
a person is able to find a reasonable solution to a problem, is how a persons maturity is assessed. It refers
to more sensitivity, mannerisms and how we respond in given situations. Huston M. (2015) wrote an article
on maturity levels according to a persons age. Even though it is true that age does not play a role, there are
certain stable behaviours that a person of a certain age projects. According to him a matured ten year old
can develop a sense of self efficacy while a matured eighteen year old is capable of self- maintenance.
Social maturity
Hira B. (2013) defined social maturity as a process of learning how to relate with social relationships and
understand and respect people in power. These social relationships can be either familial, intimate, friendly
etc. Dombeck M. (2007) in his article discussed the theory of Social Maturity by Robert Kegan. Social
Maturity is what enables us to understand the society that we live in and function according to the norms
set by it.
Social Maturity is something that comes with exposure. In the present time, there is no dearth of exposure
of any form. Information and knowledge is readily available and is just a click away. More knowledge a
person gains, more mature he becomes. To assess an individuals level of social Maturity, psychologists
such as Pedrini D.T. and Pedrini L.N. came up with the idea of creating the Vineland Social Maturity Scale
to assess the level of social maturity of an individual, right from his birth till his current age. Dr. Nalini Rao
developed the Social Maturity Scale which measures the level of social maturity of adolescents based on
their present beliefs, values and responses.

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Curiosity-Exploration
Having known to be associated with aspects of human development, curiosity refers to the inquisitiveness
that an individual possesses within himself in terms of learning and the thirst for knowledge. Curiosity has
been defined as a requirement, thirst and want for knowledge, and exploration is the process through which
one acquires information about the environment and the world. (Edelman, 1997). Both these elements are
linked positively with creativity and in a way, are considered the harbingers of innovation and ingenuity.
It is both a behavior and emotion that drives a person to seek information. A curious individual is someone
who unravels the realms of information that have not been explored yet. Right from the stage of infancy,
with or without our knowledge, the mind gathers information. Curiosity is not something that is stagnant
but is something that can be cultivated and nurtured. It shares a sense of intrigue with the individual which
enables him to go on the journey of exploration. It is also beneficial to individuals as it adds on to their
overall happiness and contentment with life, betterment of societal relationships, and helps in understanding
the meaning of our existence.
Achievement motivation
Achievement; another by product of curiosity refers to the desire to accomplish goals and gather the
necessary skills to benefit the self. Individuals with a high need for achievement challenge their own thirst
for knowledge and try to keep up with their own expectation of seeking information. Positive psychologists
also believe that achievement and accomplishment are two sides of the same coin. While achievement is a
standard that is set externally by the environment and society, accomplishment is something that an
individual sets for himself internally. According to psychologist David McClelland, achievement motivation
is defined as behaviours dedicated to developing and demonstrating higher abilities. One needs to be in
sync with ones strength and relations and can set the path for achievement to follow suit. An individual
needs to be adequately motivated to fulfil his life goals and objectives in order to achieve success as well as
contentment.
For anyone who wishes to achieve a goal, say enrolling in an Ivy League university for post- graduation,
cannot simply sit back and desire for it. Having solely the yearning is not enough, one has to work hard and
transform his passion into actions to achieve those goals. Thus, achievement motivation is not something
which is just there, it is something which needs to be present in order for us to work hard with utmost
dedication, loyalty and discipline to fulfill our targeted desires. For some, motivation can be selfsatisfaction, for others it is the pleasure of attaining success.

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REVIEW OF LITERATURE
Jacqueline S.; Miller C. et al (1993) aimed to study the developmental period of a child that puts him in a
position to take difficult decisions. It was observed that opportunities were different for adolescents during
development. They suggested certain ways by which certain favorable social environments should be
created.
Laurence S.; Cauffman E. (1996) conducted a research based on the idea that adults are more
psychologically matured than adolescents. It is more so based on the judgement that adults have. According
to them, psychosocial dimensions affects the maturity of a person. Difference in psycho-social maturity
was also found amongst early, middle and late adolescents. The research examines the cognitive and noncognitive factors to maturity, particularly tending to middle and late adolescents.
Kracke B. (2002) conducted a study on 192 school children of which 80 were girls and 112 were boys to
examine occupational exploration of parents and peers. High occupational exploration was seen amongst
individuals who had an active approach towards development and parents behavior and role of peers
showed to have played a great impact in developing the exploration skills of individuals.
Shah J.K; Sharma B. (2012) wanted to study the relationship between adjustment, achievement and maturity
of school girls. AISS and RSMS scales were used on a sample of 347 girls. A significant relationship was
seen between social maturity and adjustment. Significant difference was seen between adjustment and
achievement of the students.
Puar S.S.; Thukral P. (2012) aimed to study the relationship between achievement and social maturity. A
sample of 400 students was taken into consideration for this purpose. It was concluded that social maturity
and achievement in academics were directly proportional.
Tandon J.K (2015) conducted a study to compare the average score of pre-test and post-test of social
maturity scores of a group of students who were taught on the basis of the Jurisprudential Inquiry model of
teaching. Results showed that this model is effective in building social maturity of the students.
Frontier M.S.; Guay F. et al. conducted a study to test the motivation based on frameworks and structures
given by Deci et al. on motivational models on school children. Motivation was seen to be influenced by
competence and self- determination in the field of academics. Importance of academic motivation in
performance of students was observed.
According to Reio Jr., curiosity has been linked to a state of arousal that leads to a pleasant feeling when
satisfied (Berlyne, 1960; Flum & Kaplan, 2006). Other motivational theorists like Deci and Ryan (self[4]

determination; 1991) and White (effectance motivation; 1959) have linked curiosity and exploration to
subjective states of uncertainty and ambiguity, which when satisfied are linked to positive affect.

METHODOLOGY
PURPOSE OF THE STUDY

The purpose of this research is to assess the role of social maturity in shaping socio-behavioral aspects of
an adolescent such as achievement motivation and curiosity-exploration, and to compare and contrast the
findings of young males and females. The primary objective of the study is to study the difference between
adolescent girls and adolescent boys in terms of social maturity and how it impacts an adolescents level of
motivation and curiosity-exploration.
HYPOTHESES

o Female participants will score significantly higher on social maturity as compared to male
participants
o Within the male and female population, individuals who will score high on social maturity will also
score high on curiosity-exploration and achievement motivation
PARTICIPANTS

o Adolescent girls between the age of 14-17 years


o Adolescent boys between the age of 14-17 years
o Sample size considered appropriate for the study is:

VARIABLES

ADOLESCENT GIRLS

ADOLESCENT BOYS

(N )

(N )

Social Maturity

50

50

Achievement Motivation

50

50

Curiosity-Exploration

50

50

DESCRIPTION OF THE TOOL


The following tools would be used to assess the qualities of leadership, motivation and curiosityexploration respectively:
1. Social Maturity Scale by Dr. Nalini Rao (2006)

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2. Achievement Motivation Inventory by J.M. Muthee & Immanuel Thomas (2009)


3. Curiosity and Exploration Inventory II by Kashdan, Rose, & Fincham (2009)
RESEARCH DESIGN
The research design outlined for this particular study is Ex Post Facto research design because the variables
selected for assessment cannot be manipulated and the purpose is to evaluate the already existing qualities
of an individuals personality. Through this research design, attempts would be made to explain a
consequence (better motivation and exploratory skills) based on an already developed characteristic (level
of social maturity). It would determine the influence of one variable on another variable and test the claim
that adolescent girls with higher level of social maturity will show increased motivation and better curiosityexploration skills than adolescent boys, using statistical hypothesis testing techniques.
RESULT
Table 1
Statistical analysis of the data
TESTED VARIABLES

MEAN

S.D.

t values

S.M._TOTAL

Male
Female

50
50

245.38
234.26

20.37895073
18.52831259

0.0052

C.E._TOTAL

Male
Female

50
50

34.7
35.64

6.719602758
6.564468364

0.4808

Male
Female

50
50

101.26
105.28

12.26378441
14.26575749

0.1340

A.M._TOTAL

*p< .05
Note. The table above shows the mean and S.D. values of both the male and the female groups, which
comprise of 50 individuals each. It also shows the p value obtained from the two tailed t-test between the
two groups, for all the three variables, where SM stands for Social Maturity; CE for Curiosity and
Exploration and AM for Achievement Motivation.

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Figure 1. Mean and S.D. Values of Social Maturity

SOCIAL MATURITY
300

MEAN SCORES AND S.D.

250
200
150
100
50
0
Mean scores
S.D.

MALE

FEMALE

245.38

234.26

20.37895073

18.52831259

Figure 1 represents the mean scores and S.D. of the two sample groups for the variable Social Maturity

Figure 2. Mean and S.D. Values of Achievement Motivation

ACHIEVEMENT MOTIVATION
MEAN SCORES AND S.D.

120
100
80
60
40
20

0
Mean Scores
S.D.

MALE

FEMALE

101.26

105.28

12.26378441

14.26575749

Figure 2 represents the mean scores and S.D. of the two sample groups for the variable Achievement
Motivation

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Figure 3. Mean and S.D. Values of Curiosity-Exploration

CURIOSITY-EXPLORATION
MEAN SCORES AND S.D.

40

30

20

10

MALE

FEMALE

101.26

105.28

12.26378441

14.26575749

Mean Score
S.D.

Figure 3 represents the mean scores and S.D. of the two sample groups for the variable CuriosityExploration
Table 2
Data analysis on the basis of gender categorization

Social Maturity
Level

Male

Female

Average Scores

Average Scores

S.M.

C.E.

A.M.

S.M.

C.E.

A.M.

Low

228.40

34.20

103.76

218.48

33.24

102.00

High

262.36

35.20

98.76

250.04

38.04

108.56

SD

SD

Low

10.42

5.91

9.16

6.87

6.15

14.87

High

11.78

7.53

14.50

11.62

6.18

13.11

P Values

1.93E-14

6.04E-01

1.51E-01

1.19E-15

8.30E-03

1.05E-01

Note: The above table shows the mean scores, S.D. and p values of the three variables as calculated within
the two sample groups; males and females. Here the male and female samples have been divided into two
groups of high and low Social Maturity Level (SML) using median SML as the cutoff value. Median SML
for males was 249 and females was 232.5.
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DISCUSSION
The present study aimed at studying the role of social maturity in curiosity-exploration and achievement
motivation of adolescent boys and girls. The sample of the study comprised of 100 respondents (50 school
boys and 50 school girls). T-test was conducted to measure the significant difference between the variables
amongst the two sample groups.
For more specificity, Table 1 shows the mean and S.D. values of both the sample groups in all the tested
variables. It is evident that the difference between the values of both the sample groups is not very large. In
the Motivation Social Maturity (SM) category it can be seen that males have a slightly higher mean of
245.38 in comparison to the mean of females which is 234.26. But the case is reversed with the remaining
variables. In Curiosity-Exploration (CE) and Achievement Motivation (AM), females have obtained mean
scores marginally higher than the non-musicians.
Table 1 also shows the t-values of all the variables for both the male and female category. It is to be noted
that the p values of the equal variances assumed were considered for this calculation, which for SM is
0.0052, for CE is 0.4808 and for AM is 0.1340.
This clearly proves that on the 2 tailed test of significance, only Social Maturity (SM) was found to be
significant and accepting the hypotheses stating that there will be a significant difference between adolescent
boys and girls in terms of social maturity. The hypotheses for CE and AM is hence, not proved, stating that
there is no significant difference between adolescent boys and girls in terms of curiosity-exploration and
achievement motivation.
In the graphical representations further (Figure 1-3) the differences between the mean and S.D. vales of
adolescent males and females in each variable is distinctly shown.
Since the data showed in the first table is only relevant to state the significance difference between the three
variables, further data analysis was done in order to assess the correlation between them. Table 2 shows the
mean scores, S.D. values and p values for both the male and female category. Firstly, the male and female
participants were divided on the basis of low and high social maturity levels by calculating the median
Social Maturity Level (SML) score. For males the median cutoff was 249 and for females it was 232.5.
Accordingly, both the male and female participants were divided into two categories of low and high social
maturity levels. On the basis of this categorization the mean scores, S.D. and p values of the three variables
were calculated to assess if there is any correlation between them.
The scores indicate that in the male category, only social maturity was found to be significant on the 0.05
level with 1.93E-14, and curiosity-exploration and achievement motivation were not. While, in the female
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category both social maturity and curiosity-exploration were found to be significant and not achievement
motivation. This can be clearly interpreted as; high level of social maturity in males does not lead to
increased level of curiosity-exploration and achievement motivation, while female participants with high
social maturity level do show increased level of curiosity-exploration but no such trend in achievement
motivation.
The possible reasons behind such mixed results might be that male students, particularly in the age bracket
of 14-17 years of age, do have the maturity to distinguish between the different emotions that youngsters
generally face. They may know how to face their peers, but might be distracted by extraneous factors such
as being competitive to score higher than a friend on an online video game. They may not understand the
importance of being curious yet, strive for achievement. It is possible that young boys may not completely
understand or be aware of the significance of the mentioned attributes in their academic and social life.
It can also be seen that females with high social maturity show a significant score in curiosity exploration
but not achievement motivation. It is a common assumption that girls tend to be socially mature just like
young boys, but with the exception that they also are curious to explore possibilities in their life. They might
be willing to explore myriad opportunities in terms of their career, hobby, academics or interest. It is often
seen that women tend to start imitating adult behavior pretty early in their life. They might imitate their
mother tending to their brother, they might try imitating cooking or they might try shaving like their father.
Factually, imitation is a crucial trait of a curious mind.
Even though it is seen that the participants of this study are curious to explore, but they do not show the
motivation to achieve and explore. A valid reason for this might be that they would like to explore more
before motivating themselves to achieve something. They might like to try their hand at anything and
everything that they can think of and maybe with time try focusing on a particular thing to work upon. This
characteristic also varies in male and female adolescents. Their specific gender traits also contribute in
developing their values, beliefs and interest which helps them gain familiarity with concepts like social
maturity, curiosity and motivation.
As samples were collected from two different cities (New Delhi and Allahabad), a mixed result was
evidently expected. In addition, there are other important factors which could have contributed to such a
result. Ones family environment, socio-economic status, academic interest, educational background,
medium of study, changing trends in education and technology, past experiences, present mental and
physical health, conditions in which the questionnaires were filled and the duration of the tests are vital
considerations which can minimally or even largely affect an adolescents beliefs and thinking, which is
ultimately reflected in their responses.
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All the three variables; social maturity, curiosity-exploration and achievement motivation play a crucial role
in shaping an individuals personality, conduct, behavior and thought process. Hence, owing to the probable
causes mentioned above, the results of this study can be justified on the basis of thinking pattern, diversity
in backgrounds, changing trends and individual differences.
CONCLUSION
The present study aimed at assessing the role of social maturity in curiosity-exploration and achievement
motivation of adolescents. Following were the main findings of the study:

Despite few researches stating that girls have showed more innovativeness, curiosity and have higher
motivation due to self-pleasure motive, this study yielded opposing results.

Male participants showed higher level of social maturity than the female participants.

There was no correlation found between high social maturity level, curiosity-exploration and
achievement motivation in males.

Correlation between high level of social maturity and increased curiosity-exploration was found in
females.

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