The mediating roles of coping and adjustment in the relationship between personality and academic achievement

Perera, Harsha N. and McIlveen, Peter and Oliver, Mark E. (2015) The mediating roles of coping and adjustment in the relationship between personality and academic achievement. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 85 (3). pp. 440-457. ISSN 0007-0998


Background. Existing literature has documented relationships between personality traits and academic achievement as well as some of the mechanisms underlying these links. However, the pathways by which personality traits are associated with achievement during stressful educational circumstances require further investigation.

Aims. This study examined a model of the roles of conscientiousness and neuroticism in achievement during the typically stressful university transition, with a focus on coping strategies and academic adjustment to university as mediators in the putative chain of events linking the dispositional traits with achievement.
Sample. The sample comprised 498 first-year students attending a metropolitan university in Australia.

Methods. A multi-wave design was used with measures of the personality traits administered at the beginning of the semester, measures of coping administered four weeks thereafter, and data on academic adjustment collected mid-semester. Students’ GPA data were retrieved at the end of the semester.

Results. In structural equations analyses, conscientiousness was associated with greater primary-control engagement coping and lesser narrow disengagement coping whereas the opposite was found for neuroticism. Furthermore, conscientiousness and neuroticism were indirectly associated with academic adjustment via the coping strategies, and the personality factors were also indirectly associated with achievement via the coping strategies and academic adjustment linked serially in three-path mediated sequences.

Conclusions. The findings of this study replicate existing data concerning the direct and indirect relationships of personality with coping and adjustment, and extend these data by elucidating the pathways through which conscientiousness and neuroticism are linked with achievement during a typically stressful educational event.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Permanent restricted access to Published version in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Linguistics, Adult and Specialist Education
Date Deposited: 09 Jul 2015 04:49
Last Modified: 16 Sep 2016 07:29
Uncontrolled Keywords: personality; coping; achievement; academic performance; engagement; mediation
Fields of Research : 17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences > 1701 Psychology > 170103 Educational Psychology
13 Education > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education > 130305 Educational Counselling
Socio-Economic Objective: E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970113 Expanding Knowledge in Education
E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970117 Expanding Knowledge in Psychology and Cognitive Sciences
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1111/bjep.12084

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