Filial Piety and Academic Motivation: High-Achieving Students in an International School in South Korea

Jonathan Tam


This study uses self-determination theory to explore the mechanisms of filial piety in the academic motivation of eight high-achieving secondary school seniors at an international school in South Korea, resulting in several findings. First, the students attributed their parents’ values and expectations as a major source of the students’ understanding of filial piety responsibilities in their academic pursuit. Second, the participants found ways to justify the authoritative parenting they received through a reciprocal relationship, especially when their parents were autonomy-supportive. Third, the definitions of filial piety responsibilities varied, depending on the students’ personal and familial idiosyncrasies.


Self-determination theory, Confucian-heritage cultures, filial piety, motivation, South Korea

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