The Role of a Sense of Meaning in Academic Performance of First-Year Students: A Quantitative Analysis

By Solomon Makola and Henriëtte Van Den Berg.

Published by Journal of the World Universities Forum

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The current research study aims to demonstrate the role that can be played by a sense of meaning in enhancing the academic performance of students. Its overarching objective is to determine whether the life stressors and resources students experience (their meaning in life and Grade 12 marks) can be used to predict the academic performance of first-year students. A random sample of 101 first-year students in the Faculty of Management Sciences studies were selected to participate in this study. A biographical questionnaire, the Purpose in Life Test (PIL) of Crumbaugh and Maholic (1969), and the Life Stressors and Social Resources Inventory-Youth Form (Moos & Moos, 1994), were used to gather data. A hierarchical regression analysis was performed to analyse the influence of stressors, resources, purpose in life, and matric performance on the academic performance of first-year students.

Results from this study indicate that the measuring instruments provided good, internally consistent measures. A relatively high level of meaning was found amongst participants in the present study. The findings suggest that there were three variables that significantly correlated with academic performance; they are purpose in life, Grade 12 marks, and parents as a resource. It is mainly the variable purpose in life that showed a significant contribution to academic performance. Interestingly, parents as resource is not only significantly linked to academic performance, but it also is significantly linked to purpose in life.

Keywords: Meaning, Purpose in Life, Logotherapy, Universities, Exposure to Stressors, Access to Resources, Academic Performance, Parental Support, Students, Grade 12 Results

Journal of the World Universities Forum, Volume 1, Issue 1, pp.51-60. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 601.019KB).

Dr. Solomon Makola

Assistant Director, Student Services, Counselling Unit, Central University of Technology, Welkom, Free State, South Africa

Dr. Solomon Makola has been involved in student counseling for several years. As a psychologist, his research interest is in the area of Positive Psychology.

Dr. Henriëtte Van Den Berg

Senior Lecturer, Department of Psychology, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, Free State, South Africa

Dr. Henriëtte Van Den Berg is a senior lecturer in the Department of Psychology at the University of the Free State.


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