Academic motivations of Yi youths in China: Classmate support and ethnic identity

Angel Hor Yan Lai, Cheryl Hiu Kwan Chui*, Kin Yu Wong, Cecilia Lai Wan Chan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


To enhance the academic achievements of Yi ethnic minority youths in rural school settings, the authors examined the effect of classmate support and the meditating role of ethnic identity in promoting their academic motivation. Cross-sectional survey data were collected from Yi youths sponsored by a philanthropic organization to attend local schools in Liangshan, rural China (n = 657; 7–12 years old; 52% boys). Results of structural equation modelling showed that classmate support positively affected ethnic identity-commitment and ethnic identity-exploration, which then had positive impacts on three academic motivation outcomes: intrinsic motivation, extrinsic motivation-external and identified regulation, and extrinsic motivation-introjected regulation. The mediating effects of ethnic identity-exploration and ethnic identity-commitment were statistically significant, except for the pathway from classmate support to extrinsic motivation-introjected regulation via ethnic identity-commitment. The authors found that ethnic identity can be facilitated through building supportive classroom environment for positive academic motivations in Yi youths. Cross-cultural significance of this study is also discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)550-563
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Educational Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jul 2019

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Education

User-Defined Keywords

  • academic motivation
  • classmate support
  • Ethnic identity
  • rural China
  • youths


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