Examining hope, self-efficacy, and optimism as a motivational cognitive set predicting academic achievement and general well-being in a diverse educational setting

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University of Alabama Libraries

Hope, self-efficacy, and optimism are concepts of motivational psychology that have evidenced significant relationships with achieving goals and student achievement (Bandura, 1977; Snyder, 2004; Chang, 1998; Lin & Peterson, 1990). Research to test these measures across diverse populations as a cognitive set and examine the constructs' ability to predict student achievement and general well-being are sparse (e.g., Schunk & Zimmerman, 2006). Cross-cultural theoretical models investigating motivation in education fail to investigate constructs within positive psychology (self-efficacy, hope and optimism) that are rigorously measured and considered by Magletta and Oliver (1999) as "powerful, if not the strongest determinants of human behavior" (p. 541). Investigating competence and control beliefs across diverse student populations could yield important explanations for the disparity of scores in education among African American and Caucasian students in academic settings. This study specifically examined theoretically competing confirmatory factor models and identified the best-fitting structural equation model dependent on variables of academic hope, academic self-efficacy, and optimism in a diverse student population. The sample size (N = 466) was made up of a diverse group of high school and college students. The results of the study indicated that a system of competence and control adequately predicted student achievement and general well-being. The results of the study also indicated that the structural model of a System of Competence and Control did not differ according to age group, gender, and ethnicity in predicting student achievement and general well-being.

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Educational psychology, Developmental psychology, Psychology