Introducing a science interest network model to reveal country differences

Maien S. M. Sachisthal, Brenda R. J. Jansen, Thea T. D. Peetsma, Jonas Dalege, Han L. J. van der Maas, Maartje E. J. Raijmakers

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


In this article, a science interest network model (SINM) is introduced and a first empirical test of the model is presented. The SINM models interest as a dynamic relational construct, in which different interest components, that is, affective, behavioral, and cognitive components and related motivational components mutually reinforce one another within the development of interest. The dynamical relational perspective hypothesizes that the mutual interactions between interest components underlie the development of interest. Applying the SINM to the PISA 2015 data of 2 countries, that is, the Netherlands and Colombia, we were able to not only illuminate the structure of interactions between the different variables (i.e., indicators) in the networks of different groups of adolescents but we could also make predictions about which variables are of structural importance within the interest construct and as such worthwhile to test as potential candidates for intervention. Additionally, we were able to replicate earlier findings of the literature, namely that (a) enjoyment is central within the interest network and that (b) important structural differences exist in the interest network across countries, which, for instance, point to differences in domain specificity of interest between countries. While the network approach is sensitive to structural differences in science interest across countries, the network structure is stable across subgroups within countries. Future studies are proposed to test theoretically important assumptions of a dynamical perspective on interest, such as the causal role of different interest components in the development of interest.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1063-1080
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Educational Psychology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2019


  • Adolescents
  • Network models
  • PISA 2015
  • Science interest
  • Self-efficacy


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