Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Doctor of Philosophy


Health and Rehabilitation Sciences


Dr. Jan Polgar


Purpose: The purpose of this dissertation was to investigate the relationship between motivation and identity status in first year university students through examining their participation in the Ontario secondary school community involvement program. This document consists of three separate, but related studies: a scoping review, a mixed-methods research study, and a document review.

Methods: The scoping review was completed using the methodology outlined by Arskey and O’Malley (2005). The Mixed-methods research was conducted using an embedded mixed methods approach. The quantitative aspect was approached from a cross-sectional, descriptive design, with the qualitative component being addressed from a phenomenological perspective. The document review was completed using Bacchi’s (2009) ‘What is the problem represented to be?’ framework for policy analysis.

Results: Cumulatively, the results of this work suggested a lack of connection between motivation toward the community involvement program and identity status in first year university students. However, nearly 50 percent of the first year students were found to be in the identity diffusion stage, regardless of degree program.

Conclusions: This work showed no relationship between motivation and identity status, and highlights the lack of contribution of the community involvement program to identity status in first year university students. The high percentage of students in the diffusion status has implications at the high school level in terms of the program’s implementation and at the university level in regards to increasing the students’ awareness of skill development in areas of critical thinking and analysis and how these skills translate into future careers.