A trait-state model of deep approach to studying in university students

Rogaten, Jekaterina; Moneta, Giovanni B and Spada, Marcantonio (2012). A trait-state model of deep approach to studying in university students. In: 3rd International Conference on Education and Educational Psychology, 10-13 Oct 2012, Istanbul, Turkey.


Problem Statement:
Generally it is preferred that students develop deep approach to studying as it facilitates deeper understanding and analysis of new information (Entwistle, 1988) and positively relates to academic performance (Brodersen, 2008). However, little is known about which individual differences facilitate adoption of deep approach to studying.

Purpose of Study:
Present study proposes and tests a trait-state model of deep approach to studying. It was hypothesised that the traits of adaptive metacognition, attentional control, and intrinsic motivation (IM) would be positively associated with deep approach to studying, and the relationships would be mediated by the state variables of flow, approach coping, positive affect, mastery approach goals (MAP) and use of creativity, which were all measured with reference to study activities.

Research Methods:
An opportunity sample of 1004 university students from London completed a questionnaire pack consisting of inventories measuring the study variables. The results were analysed using bootstrap estimation (Hayes & Preacher, 2011).

A multiple-mediator model explained 34.6% of the variance in deep approach to studying. Approach coping (B=.16), flow (B=.09), use of creativity (B=.18) and MAP (B=.07) had fostering effects on deep approach, whereas positive affect had none. IM had both a direct fostering effect (B=.18) and an indirect fostering effect on deep approach through MAP (ab=.72), approach coping (ab=.36), flow (ab=.76) and use of creativity (ab=.65). Factors 1 and 2 of adaptive metacognition had indirect effects on deep approach to studying through flow (ab=.08 and ab=.12) and the effect of Factor 3 was fully mediated by use of creativity (ab=.19) and approach coping (ab=.39). The effect of attentional control on deep approach was also fully mediated by flow (ab=.26) and creativity (ab=.13).

The findings of this study substantially support the research hypotheses. IM, use of creativity and approach coping in studying are the strongest predictors of deep approach to studying. Creativity and approach coping are also the strongest mediators of the effects of dispositional variables on deep approach, and, together with flow and MAP, explain entirely the positive effect of adaptive metacognition and attentional control on deep approach to studying. The outlined model should be considered when developing new studying techniques and programs for improving students’ learning.

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