The Role of Psychological Strengths, Coping Strategies and Well-Being in the Prediction of Academic Engagement and Burnout in First-Year University Students

Richard Merhi, Ángeles Sánchez-Elvira Paniagua, Francisco José Palací Descals

Abstract


Two of the most significant challenges that higher education institutions are currently addressing are students' failure and drop-out prevention, as well as the promotion of students’ retention and success. The present study aimed at analysing the role that different variables play in the prediction of Academic Engagement and Burnout in first-year university students, under a multivariate perspective. The contribution of relevant psychological strengths in academic environments (Resilience, Personal initiative, and Academic Motivation), Procrastination and different coping strategies facing studies (Persistence, Avoidance and Anxiety) was explored. Also, the perception of academic demands and stress, students' affect (positive and negative) and the academic satisfaction was considered. Finally, an analysis of different engaged and burnt-out profiles of students was carried out. The contribution of the Efficacy subscale of Academic Burnout as an independent personal resource, and the consideration of the so-called Core Burnout, were subject of analysis. A sample of 172 first-year students of face-to-face universities, 68.8% women with a mean age of 22.99 years (SD = 7.62) volunteered to participate online in this study. The results showed, on the one hand, that Academic Engagement consisted mainly on a positive and intrinsic motivational construct, also characterised by academic efficacy, persistence as an active coping strategy, positive affect and satisfaction. On the other hand Core Burnout was mainly characterised by the perception of higher demands (e.g. academic overload), maladaptive learning behaviours and coping strategies such as procrastination and avoidance of difficulties, negative affect and dissatisfaction. Different profiles of engaged and burnt-out students were also analysed showing strong differences regarding personal strengths, coping with learning strategies, well-being and satisfaction with studies.

These results could help us to set bases for the development of early support and prevention programs for students’ Burnout, as well as actions aiming at promoting students’ Engagement and well-being during their first academic year.


Keywords


academic burnout; academic engagement; psychological strengths; first-year students; student's well-being; burnout prevention.

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References


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5944/ap.15.2.21831

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