«February 2015 Volume 5 Issue 1 ISSN: 2146-7463 JOURNAL OF EDUCATIONAL AND INSTRUCTIONAL STUDIES IN THE WORLD February 2015, ...»
The aim of this research was to determine some indicators of life satisfaction. The correlation between life satisfaction, states of anxiety, depressiveness and academic achievements, was examined amongst the students of the University of Priština with a temporary location in Kosovska Mitrovica. Also, the possibility to predict the life satisfaction was examined, based on the values of anxiety, depressiveness and academic achievements among the students. Possible amplitude of values ranges from 6,00 to 10,00.
The Sample The research included 321 students from the University of Pristina with temporary location in Kosovska Mitrovica. The sample consisted of the second year students from all the faculties of the University of Pristina.
The quotes were determined in regards to gender/sex, year of study, as well as besed on the active participation in the faculty lectures. The sample gathered students of the second year from all the departments belonging to all the faculties of the University, and the criteria for choosing the sample was an active participation of the students in the lecturing process. (we received this information from the student’s office of each of the faculties). After we received an approval from the faculty menagement, as well as the consent for the students’ participating in the research, an examination was conducted during the regular classes (the assistants gave us their class lasting 45). The questionnaires were distributed to groups (groups of 25-30 studenats). A total of 164 male i 157 female examinees were questioned, while an average age of the sample was 21,99 years.
Measures Academic success. In this research the academic success is operationally assessed through an average mark during the studies (taking in consideration all subject envisaged by a curriculum)
Epstein, Brown, & Steer, 1988; Lam, Michalk, & Swinson, 2005) – Beck’s anxiety scale is a multiple choice selfreport inventory used for measuring the severity of an individual's anxiety. It contains 21 questions.
Depression was measured by means of Beck’s Depression Inventory I (BDI-I) (Beck, 1961; Richter, Werner, Heerlien, Kraus, & Sauer, 1998) - Beck’s depression scale is a self-report questionnaire used to assess the intensity of depression. It is composed of 21 items that are answered on a four-point Likert scale ranging from 0 to 3 (with scores ranging 0 - 63); higher scores indicate greater severity of depression. A cut-off score for the presence of clinically significant form of depression is 10 points. Instrument reliability regarding this sample, based on Cronbach's alpha coefficient, was satisfactory and equaled 0.79. The scale is in Serbian.
Some authors have been explaining life satisfaction as a cognitive evaluation of life in general, through which each individual is able to assess his own life (Penezić, 1999). This variable is operationaly defined by a score on the Scale of life satisfaction (Penezić, 1996). The scale of general life satisfaction consiss of 20 items, where 17 of them refers to the evaluation of general satisfaction with one's life, whereas the remaining 3 refer to the assessment of situational satisfaction with life. This scale presents an integration of several scales: satisfaction with life scale (Satisfaction With Life Scale- SWLS; Larsen, et all., 1985) comprised of five items; Scale of general satisfaction (Bezinović, 1988) compised of seven items; Scale of positive attitude towards life (Positive Attitudes Toward Life – PATL; Grob, 1995) from which five items were taken and three more from the Scale of enjoying life (Joy in Life Scale – JLS; Grob, 1995) which mainly serves for the assessment of situational content. The scale of general life satisfaction is used to measure the satisfaction with life as a cognitive assessment. The examinees are asked to assess on a five-grade scale of Likert’s type, to what extent each of the items refers to them. The total score is achieved by a linear combination of answers, and the results are ranging from 20 to 100, with the higher score marking the higher satisfaction with life. The reliability of an internal consistence of a scale in whole equals α= 0.90 for this particular sample.
For the purpose of this research the questionnaire of sociodemographic characteristics has been used, which includes the control variables (sex, age, the faculty they are attending, place of residence etc. ).
FINDINGS The range of basic variables in the study Chart no.1 offers the basic descriptive data for the basic variables in the reserach (state of anxiety, depression, life satisfaction, academic achievements).
The results show that the examinees have a slightly expressed anxiety (considering the criteria given by Lam,2005), low depressiveness, but at the same time above the average satisfaction with life (in regards to the possible theoretical range on the scale of life satisfaction ).
Data from table no.2 are showing that only 37,4 % of examinees do not have a clinically significant levels of anxiety, even though the majority of the examinees (65,7%) do not have a higher level of anxiety which has been categorized by Lam into the mild anxiety category.
Table 3: Depressiveness among the students shown in categories
Table no. 3 clearly show that 71 % of examinees do not have a clinically significant levels of expressed anxiety.
The inter-connection of basic variables in the study According to the aims of this research, the connection between life satisfaction, anxiety, depressiveness and academic achievements among the students was examined. Person’s correlation coefficient was used for that purpose, as shown in the table no.4.
Based on the data from the table no.4 it is clear that anxiety is statistically, significantly and positively correlated with depressiveness (r=0.492, p0.01), while at the same time it is negatively correlated with life satisfaction (r= -0.342, p0.01). Depressiveness is in a negative correlation with life satisfaction (r=-0.492, p0.01). Academic achievements is in a statistically significant and positive correlation with life satisfaction (r=0.140, p0.05).
Possibility of predicting life satisfaction One of questions in this study was whether there is a possibility to predict the value of life satisfaction, based on the predicting variables: anxiety, depressiveness and academic achievement. This particular issue was investigated by means of a multiple regression analysis, by the so called enter procedure. The results are shown in the table no.5.
The coefficient of a multiple correlation equals R= 0.754 and explains the linear correlation between the criterion variable (life satisfaction) and predictors (anxiety, depressiveness, academic success). The coefficient 2 of a multiple determination equals R = 0.268, which means that the variance percent is common for the criterium and the congregation of predicting variables involved in the procedure 27%.
As shown from the results in table no.5 it is possible to conclude that life satisfaction is possible to be foreseen based on the composition of examined predictors ( anxiety, depressiveness, academic success). Based on the values of standardized regressional coefficients, we can see that the predictors are in a significant amount included in the process of explaining variances. Depressiveness turned out as the best predictor (β= -0.418), while anxiety and academic achievement came out as significant predictors.
The results relating to some of the aspects of mental health among the examined students (anxiety and depressiveness) seem disturbing, especially if tables 2 and 3 are taken into consideration. Majority of examinees (62,6%) are placed in the category ‘’ has a mild anxiety’’, but at the same time they are clinically significant (according to Lam, 2005). Meanwhile, 29% of the examinees (table 3) have some of the categories of clinically significant depressiveness (according to the criteria offered by Richter et all, 1998). These results correspond with some of the former studies in our country (Žikić et all, 2013; Ranđelović et all, 2013). Surely, one should have in mind that during their studies the students reside on the territory of Kosovo and Metohia, with abundance of stressful and often life-threathening conditions (Dimitrijević i Ranđelović, 2012; Ranđelović i Minić, 2012; Ranđelović et all, 2013). All that implies to the need for preventive activities in order to protect and preserve mental health among the students.
Even though, the data showing that students have a rather high values of life satisfaction sounds rather encouraging (table 1 ), which speaks in favor of existence of valuable resources used by these young people when facing the daily stressful life conditions (which has been confirmed by some formes studies : Ranđelović & Minić, 2012).
The positive statistically significant correlation between anxiety and depressiveness is a due result, which has been confirmed in various former research studies (Guney et all, 2010, Zikić et all, 2013), so we can understand that the more depressive persons are usually more anxious. At the same time, both of these variables are significantly and negatively correlated with life satisfaction. Hence, persons which are more depressive and anxious, are less satisfied with their life. These findings are in a direct compliance with Guney’s (Guney et all,
2010) research, while not being in full compliance with the research of Headey and associates (Headey et all,1993), which affered a data that more anxious persons are not less satisfied with their life in comparison with those less anxious people.
A statistically significant and positive correlation between academic success and life satisfaction has been confirmed, although it is rather low. This directly supports the findings of Bean and Bradley (Bean& Bradley, 1986). One of the possible explanations for the observed positive correlation, is that high life satisfaction levels may boost an individual’s confidence in their ability to achieve high grades. So, individuals may become more actively engaged in study and as a result, their academic performance increases. The nature of the relationship between academic performance and life satisfaction suggests that when academic performance increases so does life satisfaction.
We find the result related to the possibility to predict life satisfaction based on the composition of predicting variables (anxiety, depressiveness and academic achievements) particularly important. The percent of the variance of life satisfaction (27%) based on the mentioned variables is not negligible, and offers the basis for design of appropriate preventive activities, aiming to improve various aspects contributing the satisfaction with life among the students. Considering the fact that depressiveness has turned out as the best predictor with the negative sign of beta coefficient (which means that the lower the depressiveness, the higher the satisfaction with life). It is possible to assume that the psychological work of appropriate services (included in educational and health institutions) aiming to diminish the risky factors which are advantageous for raising depressiveness, and which could have some positive effects on life satisfaction among the students’ population by organizing preventive and educational activities.
This paper gives a humble contribution to the continuous monitoring of mental health among the youth in Serbia and the search for various health factors which were theoretically explained in a salutogenic approach, founded on the basis of positive psychology. The correlation between certain aspects of life satisfaction points to the need of an interdisciplinary approach in this matter (clinical psychology, positive psychology, psychology of education). Although the academic achievement in this particular research is in a rather mild connection with life satisfaction, the fact remains that correlation is statistically significant. At the same time, the results of some former studies speak about the importance of studying the student’s success and currently empirically confirmed correlations between the academic success and various aspects of human well-being (happiness, optimism, etc.). Hence, maybe some of the future studies should include a higher number of variables relating to different aspects of academic success, as well as a higher number of variables from the domain of a biased well-being.
The data gathered about the life satisfaction predictors among the students, and the percentage of the explained variance offer a possibility to take various measures of prevention, which would be targeted towards promotion, preservation and improvement of the student’s mental health, pointing to the importance of the positive factors.
All the results imply to the need for continuous monitoring of mental health among the young people (not just students), both through these research studies and perhaps by organizing various forms of psychological counseling for youth as a form of primary prevention. Involvement and support of state institutions, local governments and other organizations interested in the mental health of young people would be of great importance.
Note: This research/project was supported by Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Serbia No.
47023, for the period 2011-2014.
th WJEIS’s Note: This article was presented at 5 International Conference on New Trends in Education and Their Implications - ICONTE, 24-26 April, 2014, Antalya-Turkey and was selected for publication for Volume Volume 5 Number 1 2015 by WJEIS Scientific Committee.
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