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The self-fulfilling prophecy of fear of academic failure

2015-08-25 , Brahm, Taiga , Jenert, Tobias , Wagner, Dietrich

Academic success in Higher Education is influenced by a number of different factors. This paper tackles the question if the individual levels of motivation, anxiety, enjoyment and self-efficacy, measured immediately before entering university, influence the probability of academic success. Former studies have shown an influence of the high school grade, the learning environment and motivational variables. They do not investigate, however, the individual levels of the mentioned constructs before the beginning of the studies. This research was conducted at the University of St. Gallen/Switzerland. The sample includes 695 first-year students who provided information about the individual level of the mentioned constructs. Descriptive statistics show that on average the students are highly motivated, have a high level of self-efficacy and are looking forward to their studies before their beginning. Yet, there are students who have a high level of fear of failure in the study in spite of their high motivation and self-efficacy. A logistic regression shows that there is a significant effect of fear of failure on the probability of study success. This paper shows that fear of failure can increase the probability of academic failure and thus become a self-fulfilling prophecy. It confirms fear as an important factor for academic success. Furthermore, other important factors for academic success, for example the high school grade, could be confirmed in this study.