Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2013

Degree Type


Degree Name



Educational Psychology

First Advisor

Cheryl Somers


In this study, academic adjustment in college students was examined, which refers to students' success in coping with the educational demands of the college experience. With college attendance on the rise, it is important to explain the variance in successful academic adjustment. Individual factors have been studied one or two at a time or in combination with other interpersonal/external factors. The purpose of this study was to magnify the area of self by considering a variety of intrapersonal factors to examine how these factors may influence academic achievement. These factors included academic motivation (self-determination), alcohol use, procrastination, perfectionism, perceived stress, and coping style. The goal was to examine both their combined and unique contributions. The participants in this study were 273 college students (75 males and 198 females) between the ages of 18-25. Academic motivation was found to be correlated with academic adjustment in this sample, and in the expected direction. For example, those students who had higher scores on the intrinsic and extrinsic motivation subscales also received higher scores for academic adjustment. Conversely, those students who endorsed items on the amotivation subscale (indicating a lower level of academic motivation) also scored lower on academic adjustment, suggesting that these students are coping less successfully with the educational demands of college. When their combined contributions were examined, the intrapersonal variables (alcohol use, procrastination, perfectionism, perceived level of stress, and coping style) explained a significant proportion of variance in academic adjustment, indicating that these characteristics have a direct effect on students' ability to deal with the stress and demands of college. The factors that were the greatest contributors in explaining this variance included procrastination, perfectionism (both adaptive and maladaptive), and avoidant coping. Furthermore, when the intrapersonal variables were assessed together with academic motivation, an even greater amount of variance was explained in academic adjustment for this sample. Lastly, assessment for any moderation effects of the intrapersonal variables on the relationship between academic motivation and academic adjustment revealed mixed results. More specifically, there were no moderation effects found on intrinsic or extrinsic motivation for any of the intrapersonal factors. However, there was a moderation effect detected for amotivation for the following variables: procrastination, both adaptive and maladaptive perfectionism, perceived stress, and emotion-focused coping.

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