School of Behavioral Sciences


Doctor of Education in Community Care and Counseling (EdD)


Keena Cowsert


immigrant student, trauma, perceived stress, academic motivation


Elementary Education | English Language and Literature


The current study explored the relationship between past trauma of immigrant students and motivation in a group of public-school elementary students in Washington state. Additionally, this study explored how stress affects academic motivation. It was hypothesized that past trauma would significantly affect immigrant student motivation and that current stress would moderate motivation in school. Only students with past trauma experience and who qualify as an immigrant, were included in this study. Participants completed The Cameron Complex Trauma Interview (CCTI), Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ), and The Perceived Stress Scale for Children (PSS-C). While motivation has been studied, the factors that influence motivation, such as trauma, immigrant status, and ongoing stress from a sociocultural framework, are understudied. Furthermore, research on motivation as it relates to immigrant students has mainly focused on teachers’ perceptions of student motivation, missing an opportunity to examine the impact of sociocultural learning. In addition, current research on trauma has not fully engaged immigrant students at the elementary level. The current study addressed this gap in the literature by examining the relationship between trauma and academic motivation and addressing current stress of immigrant elementary students. This study used a diverse immigrant third through fifth-grade elementary student population in a Pacific Northwest school district.