The Role of Motivation in Working Towards Healthy Outcomes with Individuals with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder

Background and Objectives: Motivation is a central construct in helping people achieve their
goals. Despite this, little is known about the role of motivation in supporting individuals with Fetal
Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. As the narrative around FASD shifts from deficit models alone to
balanced approaches that integrate strengths, goals, and healthy outcomes, the applicability of
psychosocial constructs like motivation increases. Thus, the purpose of the current research was to describe frontline mentors’ natural experiences of motivation in their work with clients with FASD.

Materials and Methods: We used a qualitative descriptive design with focus groups to bring data to bear on the research question: How do frontline mentors experience motivation in working with members of the FASD community? Participants were recruited through a partnership with a large, multi-function social service agency in Alberta. Twenty frontline mentors and supervisors who provide client-centred assistance to families and individuals associated with FASD participated in one of five semi-structured interviews via Zoom(c).

Results: After transcribing the focus groups verbatim and reflecting on personal biases, the
research team conducted an inductive thematic analysis on all comments related to motivation and its impact on the work of frontline mentors. They identified four themes: working to motivate
clients, the role of systems in motivation, barriers to motivation, and the client’s own motivation.

Conclusion: The results are discussed in light of relevant theories of achievement motivation
before noting important limitations and directions for future research, including more research
specifically with FASD populations.

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