Psychology, Department of


Date of this Version

June 2002


Published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, Vol. 28 No. 6 (June 2002), pp. 732-743. © 2002 by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Inc. Used by permission of Sage Publications.


Individuals engage in behaviors to satisfy motivations and can engage in the same behavior to satisfy a variety of different motivations. Previous research has examined how differences in the overall amount of motivation influence outcomes but has not addressed how differences in the number of conceptually distinct motivations one has for a particular action influence outcomes. In two longitudinal field studies, individuals with more than one motivation for volunteering experienced greater negative outcomes than did those who volunteered to satisfy a single motivation. A laboratory study manipulated the number of motivations individuals had for engaging in a volunteer activity. Individuals with two motivations reported greater negative outcomes than did those with one motivation. The importance of these findings for understanding the linkages of motivation and action in self-regulated behaviors is discussed.