Education and Human Sciences, College of (CEHS)


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A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Arts, Major: Educational Psychology, Under the Supervision of Professor Kenneth A. Kiewra. Lincoln, Nebraska: December, 2014

Copyright (c) 2014 Abraham E. Flanigan


The presence of technological distractions during homework and study diminishes students’ ability to self-regulate effectively, a phenomenon known as motivational interference. To date, no studies have explored the relationship between college students’ delay of gratification tendencies and motivational interference. Do students with greater delay of gratification tendencies experience less motivational interference from a potential distraction? The present study explored this question by comparing students’ academic delay of gratification tendencies with their experiences of motivational interference. Participants self-reported their delay of gratification tendencies then completed an academic task while confronted with a computer distractor. Afterward, participants self-reported their motivational interference scores. Regression analyses indicated that delay of gratification scores did not predict motivational interference scores. However, students self-reported encountering numerous technological distractions and employing self-regulation strategies as they work on homework or study outside the classroom. Self-report responses supported prior research related to the number of technological distractions that students encounter outside of the classroom and suggest that university students often study or complete homework in the presence of distractions.

Adviser: Kenneth A. Kiewra