Resident Assistant Workplace Motivation: A Mid-Atlantic Regional Study

Author/Creator ORCID




Department of Educational Professions


Doctor of Education, Educational Leadership (Ed.D.)

Citation of Original Publication


The author owns the copyright to this work. This item may be protected under Title 17 of the U.S. Copyright Law. It is made available by FSU for non-commercial research and education. For permission to publish or reproduce, please contact the author.


Minimal research has been conducted relative to the sources of work motivation for resident assistants (RAs) over the last decade. As more challenges and responsibilities are added to the expectations of the RA position, determining what current factors motivate students to apply for the RA position is essential. By identifying and better understanding the motivational factors of students who accept the RA role, housing professionals may focus their energies more appropriately in order to staff the position with highly qualified individuals. The literature review traces the evolution of the RA position and cites relevant research on motivation. The study included 231 respondents from 46 different institutions in the Mid-Atlantic region. The research found that helping behaviors was the most prominent factor for seeking the RA position. The desire to meet financial obligations was also a significant consideration. RA cohesiveness also was a factor of prominence. There were no significant differences in motivational factors when looking at demographic characteristics (gender, race/ethnicity) or work characteristics (type of residential community, semesters in the RA position, class standing of population RA was serving, number of students the RA served on floor/wing, and type of institution) In addition, there were no work or demographic characteristics that could predict high levels of motivation for current RAs. This finding can allow housing professionals to focus more clearly on one recruitment strategy.