Social support is a valid predictor of individuals’ learning motivation, but the specific mechanism of the two is still unclear. In order to explore the specific mechanism between them, we examined the mediating role of belief in a just world (BJW) and the moderating role of gender in the relationship between social support and learning motivation.
A total of 1320 students enrolled in three higher vocational colleges in eastern China were surveyed using the adolescent Social Support Scale, the college students’ Motivation to Learn questionnaire, and the College Students’ Belief in a Just World Scale. Descriptive statistics and correlation analyses were performed for all study variables, and finally, mediating and moderating effects were tested using the process developed by Hayes.
In China, the relationship between social support, BJW, and learning motivation of higher vocational college students shows a two-by-two positive correlation. Social support can directly influence learning motivation and function through the mediation of BJW. Gender moderates the first half of the pathway of the mediating effect of social support – BJW – learning motivation and the direct pathway of social support – learning motivation, ie, the positive effect of social support received on BJW and is more remarkable for boys when compared to girls. In addition, among the mediating effects played by BJW, the intrinsic justice dimension contributed the most, the ultimate justice dimension the second, and the intrinsic injustice dimension the least.
This study adds to and extends the relevant research on the influence of social support on individuals. It confirms the moderating effect of gender and provides a new idea for enhancing the learning motivation of disadvantaged student groups. The results of the study can provide a reference for researchers and educators to further explore how to enhance the learning motivation of higher education students.