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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Academic and Social Engagement in University Students: Exploring Individual Differences and Relations with Personality and Daily Activities

  • Author(s): Mouzakis, Kristina
  • Advisor(s): Ozer, Daniel J.
  • et al.

Academic and social engagement can be used to better motivate students to get involved with their curricula and other campus activities. Engagement can help students stay in university and graduate, help make the university experience a pleasant one, and help get good grades and learn. Though there is much information in the literature about the many benefits of being engaged and the characteristics of students’ academic engagement, there is little about students’ social engagement in a non- learning context. Even more, many changes may occur during university years but there is little research on how academic and social engagement may change for university students. This dissertation presents a new measure that assesses social engagement in university students, it evaluates students’ academic and social engagement, and models how the two engagement types may change across two academic quarters as a function of students’ personality and daily activities. The findings show academic and social engagement are strongly related to each other. Academic engagement was predicted by conscientiousness, extraversion, openness to experience, time students spent studying and going to class. Additionally, those students who started off high on extraversion and openness showed an increase in academic engagement over time, and those students who started off low on each of the two traits showed a decrease in academic engagement. Social engagement was best predicted by extraversion and openness to experience, as well as time spent on activities with friends, exercising, and housework (negative relation). This preliminary exploratory information can help with a better understanding of what engages and motivates students for future studies.

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