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Psychol Bull. 2004 Mar;130(2):261-88.

Do psychosocial and study skill factors predict college outcomes? A meta-analysis.

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  • 1Research Division, ACT, Iowa City, IA 52243-0168, USA.


This study examines the relationship between psychosocial and study skill factors (PSFs) and college outcomes by meta-analyzing 109 studies. On the basis of educational persistence and motivational theory models, the PSFs were categorized into 9 broad constructs: achievement motivation, academic goals, institutional commitment, perceived social support, social involvement, academic self-efficacy, general self-concept, academic-related skills, and contextual influences. Two college outcomes were targeted: performance (cumulative grade point average; GPA) and persistence (retention). Meta-analyses indicate moderate relationships between retention and academic goals, academic self-efficacy, and academic-related skills (ps =.340,.359, and.366, respectively). The best predictors for GPA were academic self-efficacy and achievement motivation (ps =.496 and.303, respectively). Supplementary regression analyses confirmed the incremental contributions of the PSF over and above those of socioeconomic status, standardized achievement, and high school GPA in predicting college outcomes.

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