Date of Award

2012

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Psychology)

School

School of Psychology and Social Science

Faculty

Computing, Health and Science.

First Advisor

Dr. Justine Dandy

Second Advisor

Dr. Deirdre Drake

Abstract

The prime purpose of this study was to propose and test an integrated parental and social-cognitive model of academic achievement and examine the effects of parenting styles, academic self-efficacy, and achievement motivation on academic achievement by employing an ex-post facto prospective research design. The data on demographic characteristics, parenting styles, academic self-efficacy and achievement motivation were collected through self-report questionnaires from a sample of 2116 (763 females and 1353 males) undergraduate first year students selected via multi-stage cluster random sampling technique from Addis Ababa University, Kotebe College of Teacher Education, and Wolayta Soddo University in Ethiopia and accessing their second semester Grade-Point-Averages (GPAs) of 2008/09 academic year from the Registrars’ Offices of the respective Higher Education Institutions. Preliminary analyses of the data consisted of percentage and correlational analyses. Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) analyses with Analysis of MOment Structures (AMOS 18.0 version) were employed to test the adequacy of the hypothesized model and examine the relationships among the variables. A one-way Multivariate Analysis of Variance (MANOVA) was also used to assess sex differences in the academic self-efficacy, achievement motivation, and academic achievement of students. The results of preliminary analyses pertaining to the most predominantly practiced parenting style in the families of Ethiopia revealed that authoritative parenting was the most commonly adopted parenting style; however, parenting styles varied as a function of late adolescent and young adult children’s sex (i.e., parents were authoritative for their daughters but neglectful for their sons). The results from tests of the proposed parental and social-cognitive model of academic achievement showed that the hypothesized model provided a good fit to the empirical data for both the overall sample and the sub-samples of female and male students. The results of the path analyses provided partial support for the hypothesized model, in that, irrespective of students’ sex, parenting styles had a significant and positive direct effect on academic self-efficacy, as well as significant and positive mediated effects on achievement motivation (i.e., via academic self-efficacy) and academic achievement (i.e., via achievement motivation for female students and via academic self-efficacy for male students). Parenting styles had also a significant and positive direct effect on achievement motivation for female students, but not for male students. Specifically, regardless of sex, students who rated their parents as authoritative had higher academic self-efficacy than their counterparts who perceived their parents as non-authoritative; however, only female students who described their parents as authoritative had higher achievement motivation when compared with their counterparts who characterized their parents as non-authoritative. The results also revealed that both female and male students who described their parents as authoritative had higher academic self-efficacy and these students in turn had higher achievement motivation than their counterparts who characterized their parents as non-authoritative. In addition, female students who rated their parents as authoritative had higher achievement motivation and these students in turn had higher academic achievement when compared with their counterparts from non-authoritative families. Similarly, male students who characterized their parents as authoritative had higher academic self-efficacy and these students in turn had higher academic achievement when compared with their counterparts from non-authoritative families. With regard to the interrelationships among academic self-efficacy, achievement motivation, and academic achievement, irrespective of students’ sex, academic self-efficacy had a significant and positive direct effect on achievement motivation and a significant and positive mediated effect (i.e., through achievement motivation) on academic achievement. Furthermore, regardless of students’ sex, achievement motivation had a significant and positive direct effect on academic achievement. Academic self-efficacy had also a significant and positive direct effect on academic achievement for male students, but not for female students. The results of a one-way Multivariate Analysis of Variance (MANOVA) indicated that there were significant sex differences in the academic achievement of students (i.e., favouring male students); however, there were no significant differences among female and male students in their academic self-efficacy and achievement motivation. The findings also uncovered that undergraduate first year university students in Ethiopia who participated in the present study had high academic selfefficacy and achievement motivation but low academic achievement. Based on the findings, some practical and theoretical implications of the study for designing interventions to maximize students’ academic achievement in higher education institutions are addressed.

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