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

Psychol Bull. 2004 Mar;130(2):261-88. doi: 10.1037/0033-2909.130.2.261.


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.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Educational Status*
  • Humans
  • Learning*
  • Psychology
  • Retention, Psychology
  • Self Efficacy
  • Social Support
  • Universities