Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Dr. David L. Nelson

Second Advisor

Dr. Claire Callan

Third Advisor

Dr. Shirly Ann Lukens

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


Of central importance to occupational therapy is the issue of motivation in activity. The purpose of this study was to look at the effects of choice on motivation during an activity undertaken by mentally retarded adults and adolescents. Each subject was given a choice of five wrinkled T-shirts that had sports logos on them. The subject chose one but was then asked to iron the T-shirt before he took it to keep. With counterbalancing for order of presentation, each subject also experienced not having a choice between five T-shirts and then ironing the one given to him. The amount of ironing was measured by calculating the amount of water evaporation. A one-tailed t -test indicated that with this population, choice in an activity was a significant motivator for increased participation in a subsequent activity. Results are discussed in terms of the need for research and practice oriented to developing a sense of efficacy in mentally retarded and other populations.