Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Curriculum and Instruction

Major Professor

Darlene M. DeMarie, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Robert Dedrick, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Clint Randles, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Tony Tan, Ed.D.


basic psychological needs, creativity, divergent thinking, early adolescence, motivation, out-of-school contexts


Early adolescence is a vital time for the development of creative thinking and behaviors (Barbot et al., 2016) as well as for examining factors that influence the motivation of youth to engage and persist in creative processes and to develop creative abilities (Beghetto & Dilley, 2016). In order to support the motivation towards creative pursuits that may be unique to early adolescent youth, the satisfaction of basic psychological needs for competence, autonomy, and relatedness may be important. Since out-of-school contexts are an increasingly important element of adolescents’ day-to-day experiences, research that investigates how contextual factors contribute to the development of creativity specifically during adolescence is needed. The field is lacking research that examines the roles of need satisfaction and need frustration to motivation to engage in creative processes and as well as to creativity itself (Hennessey, 2019). The field is also lacking research that operationalizes motivation in more nuanced ways other than the typical intrinsic/extrinsic paradigm made popular by research citing Amabile’s (1983, 1996) framework. Therefore, the main aim of the present study was to address these gaps in the literature. The results of this study provided evidence that attributes of the out-of-school context devoted to creative processes supported youth needs as predicted. Findings indicated strong empirical support for the associations of need satisfaction to more self-determined motivation (autonomous) and of need frustration to more controlled motivation (external). Surprisingly, results demonstrated no significant correlation between intrinsic motivation and verbal divergent thinking. This study contributes to the field by advancing a new line of inquiry applying tenets of Self-Determination Theory and applying the framework of “need-supportive teaching” to understanding contextual supports for developing creativity during early adolescence.