The Motivation Competencies That Count Most: An Online International Study

The Open Psychology Journal 08 Mar 2022 RESEARCH ARTICLE DOI: 10.2174/18743501-v15-e2202030



With an online sample of 8,349 people from 123 countries (74.9% from the U.S., Canada, and India), a new test was used to rank eight motivation-related competencies according to how well they predicted desirable, self-reported outcomes. Each of the competencies was derived from empirical studies showing that such competencies were associated with higher levels of motivation. The competencies were: Maintains Healthy Lifestyle, Makes Commitments, Manages Environment, Manages Rewards, Manages Stress, Manages Thoughts, Monitors Behavior, and Sets Goals.


The study was conducted to identify and prioritize competencies that are associated with higher levels of motivation.


A “concurrent study design” was used to assess predictive validity, which was suggested by a strong association between test scores and self-reported answers to criterion questions about levels of motivation, life satisfaction, and professional success. Regression analyses were conducted to prioritize the competencies. Demographic analyses were also conducted.


The findings support the value of motivation training; test scores were higher for people who had received such training and were positively correlated with the number of training hours accrued. Effects were found for education, race and age, but no male/female difference was found. Regression analyses pointed to the importance of two of the eight competencies in particular: Sets Goals and Manages Thoughts.


The study supports the view that motivation competencies can be measured and trained and that they are predictive of desirable motivational outcomes.

Keywords: Motivation competencies, Motivation test, Goal setting, EMCI, Epstein motivation competencies inventory, Psychological test, Test scores.
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