Threats or Opportunities That Undermine or Facilitate First-Year University Students’ Levels of Academic Self-Efficacy

Silvina Maria Zapata, Anthony J. Onwuegbuzie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


University students experience new academic demands during their transition from school to college. This study explored variables that positively or negatively influence first-year university students’ levels of academic self-efficacy, providing insights into teachers’ practices and Higher Education Institutions. Data were collected at two points over the course of 6 months from a convenient sample of 311 students, and regression-based path analysis was undertaken using mediation and moderation analysis. The findings showed that positive emotions, negative emotional states, motivational processes, and internal states affect students’ academic performance, beliefs, and judgments of their academic self-efficacy. More specifically, the results revealed that students’ emotions, such as gratitude, negative emotional states, intrinsic motivation, perceptions of academic control, and motivational processes named obsessive and harmonious passion undermine or facilitate students’ academic self-efficacy levels. Limitations and recommendations for future research, as well as practical implications for counselors and teachers, leaders and administrators, and students, are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-142
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of Higher Education Theory and Practice
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 25 Mar 2023


  • academic self-efficacy
  • gratitude
  • intrinsic motivation
  • negative emotional states
  • passion
  • perceptions of academic control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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