Psychological engagement of university students: learning communities and family relationships

Timms, Carolyn, Fishman, Tracey, Godineau, Alexander, Granger, Jamie, and Sibanda, Tariro (2018) Psychological engagement of university students: learning communities and family relationships. Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education, 10 (3). pp. 243-255.

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Purpose. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the relationship of undergraduate university students’ course experience (learning community, clear goals and standards, student support, study-family affect and autonomy) to their well-being, as measured by psychological engagement (dedication, absorption and vigour) and burnout (exhaustion and disengagement/cynicism).

Design/methodology/approach. First year psychology students (n = 128) were surveyed using previously validated measures of their well-being and experiences at university.

Findings. Belonging to a learning community (where students were encouraged to develop fluidity with the subject matter and share insights) was positively related to students’ psychological engagement. By contrast, the provision of ready access to course materials did not predict student engagement. Knowledge of goals and standards predicted that students would find course work energizing (vigour). Respondents reported that study-family affect (where participation at university enhances family life) was related to their engagement at university. In addition, mature age students (over the age of 25 years) reported higher levels of engagement in their study than did younger students.

Research limitations/implications. The dominant predictor of student well-being (learning community) was redolent of two important psychological human needs (affiliation and mastery). The central nature of this variable to student well-being is therefore currently undifferentiated and calls for the application of more finely tuned instruments to predict student well-being. Originality/value. The current research applied measures from the widely validated Course Experience Questionnaire (CEQ, Ramsden, 1991) as predictors of students’ psychological engagement and burnout. It highlights the value of personal relationships and community in university students’ mastery of difficult course material.

Item ID: 53251
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2050-7003
Keywords: psychological burnout, psychological engagement, student well-being
Date Deposited: 13 Aug 2018 05:05
FoR Codes: 39 EDUCATION > 3904 Specialist studies in education > 390404 Educational counselling @ 50%
39 EDUCATION > 3903 Education systems > 390303 Higher education @ 50%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970113 Expanding Knowledge in Education @ 50%
97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970117 Expanding Knowledge in Psychology and Cognitive Sciences @ 50%
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