Self-Efficacy and Academic Success among Diverse First-Generation College students: the mediating role of self-regulation

Koh et al. / Social Psychology of Education / July 2022

This study examines whether self-efficacy predicted academic success (via self-regulation) for first-generation and continuing-generation college students (Model 1) and among various racial/ethnic groups (Model 2). The 3,316 ethnically diverse incoming freshmen from a large, urban, public university (53% first-generation) participated in this study (43% Latinx, 24% Asian American, 23% White, and 10% Black). Participants’ ages ranged from 16 to 23 (M = 17.97, SD = 0.41). Prior to matriculation, participants completed the online institutional survey, including items exploring self-efficacy and self-regulation. This study distinguishes between emotional and behavioral aspects of self-regulation. To assess academic success outcomes, first-semester grade point averages and first-to-second year retention rates were collected from institutional data. Significant direct and indirect paths varied by generational status as well as race/ethnicity. Two types of self-regulation—emotional and behavioral regulation—had divergent effects. Increased behavioral regulation but decreased emotional regulation enhanced academic success. Findings highlight that differentiated interventions should be provided to meet diverse needs.