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Do family and peer academic social supports predict academic motivations and achievement of first-year college students?

Scott C Marley (Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona, USA)
M Jeanne Wilcox (Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona, USA)

Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education

ISSN: 2050-7003

Article publication date: 26 May 2021

Issue publication date: 31 May 2022

149

Abstract

Purpose

This study examines family and peer academic social supports as correlates of academic motivation and first-semester GPA.

Design/methodology/approach

Using a correlational design, 468 first-semester college students completed an online survey. Demographic characteristics, high school GPA and first-semester GPA were gathered from institutional data and linked to student survey responses.

Findings

Bivariate and multiple regression analyses revealed that family and peer academic social supports are predictive of academic motivation and first-semester GPA. The relationships identified were small- to medium-sized and of theoretical and substantive interest.

Research limitations/implications

The main limitations of the study are the measures are self-reported and the study is correlational, the latter limiting the strength of causal inferences. However, the study provides further understanding of the importance of college students' family and peer social supports in relationship to academic motivation and achievement.

Practical implications

The research has practical implications for higher educators developing programs to improve family and peer social support. If future research establishes causal relationships, interventions to enhance family and peer academic supports may prove beneficial in promoting academic motivation. Further, encouraging families to broadly discuss academic topics may be ineffective in terms of academic self-efficacy and achievement for historically underrepresented students.

Originality/value

This study makes a unique contribution to the literature by establishing relationships between family and peer supports with academic motivation. Statistical interactions between family and peer supports and with demographic characteristics in predicting academic motivation were identified. If the interactions are replicable, the findings provide avenues for future correlational and intervention research.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This research was supported by the U.S. Department of Education, First in the World Grant #P116F140280 for which M. Jeanne Wilcox is PI. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and no official endorsement by the U.S. Department of Education should be inferred.

Citation

Marley, S.C. and Wilcox, M.J. (2022), "Do family and peer academic social supports predict academic motivations and achievement of first-year college students?", Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education, Vol. 14 No. 3, pp. 958-973. https://doi.org/10.1108/JARHE-06-2020-0158

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

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