The interactional effects of personality type, student learning styles and initial degree choice on first year university students' anxiety and career decision certainty: A model of influence.

Year: 2001

Author: Bolitho, Rosalind

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This paper reports the findings of a project exploring the interactional effects of: personality type (measured by the MBTI), student learning styles (measured by the Biggs SPQ) and initial degree choice on student anxiety (STAXI) and career commitment amongst first year students at the College of Fine Arts, UNSW. Students will ostensibly choose a particular degree according to their perceived interests. However, there could be demands made on them by the nature of the particular academic discipline that may well be both unexpected and at odds with the academic predispositions of 'personality type' and the individual's preferred learning style. The study proposed that such a 'mismatch' of learning style and career choice would lead to increased student anxiety, reduced career commitment and an increased preparedness to 'drop out' from a particular course. Correlations between these factors and analysis of variance measures have been undertaken to develop a possible model of influence that predicts students who will be more 'at risk' of university failure particularly in those degrees demanding more than one learning approach. By highlighting the point of mismatch the model aims to explore the potential for possible interventions designed to reduce student anxiety and thus increase retention rates.