Award Date

May 2023

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Psychology, Leadership, and Higher Education

First Committee Member

Jonathan Hilpert

Second Committee Member

Gwen Marchand

Third Committee Member

Lisa Bendixen

Fourth Committee Member

Rachael Robnett

Number of Pages



Utilizing expectancy-value theory (EVT), the present study observed the temporal relations among health science students’ expectations, subjective task values (STV), and costs with academic achievement and intentions to leave a health science program. The present study is among the first to examine this population of students and is one of the earliest to utilize a longitudinal design with a random-intercepts cross-lagged panel model (RI-CLPM) for EVT data. The study’s novel contributions not only add to the EVT literature by incorporating a methodologically more advanced form of the traditional cross-lagged panel model, but also extends the reach of EVT research by investigating a student population that if supported via motivational interventions can directly combat the shortage of health care professionals such as those in nursing and occupational therapy fields. Based on the longitudinal data from almost 900 health science students – including nursing, pre-nursing, and occupational therapy students – the analysis displayed unidirectional spill-over effects between constructs such that students with higher than expected STVs at semester onset had lower than anticipated cost midsemester. Likewise, those with higher than expected STVs midsemester were predicted to have higher than anticipated end of semester expectations. Regarding student outcomes as predicted from EVT data, theoretically informative results illustrated students with higher than expected STVs at midsemester and end of semester were predicted to have a higher GPA. Similarly, at the end of the semester those with higher than anticipated expectations and lower than expected costs were predicted to have lower intentions to leave their program. The current findings contribute to understandings of the motivational processes involved in health sciences students’ achievement and intentions to leave a program. Specifically, the study illustrated that interventions early in a semester that seek to modify student motivations, in particular enhancing subjective task values, can downstream increase academic achievement and reduce students’ ITL.


Expectancy-Value Theory; Motivation


Education | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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