Antecedents of basic psychological need satisfaction of pharmacy students: The role of peers, family, lecturers and workload

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Abstract

Background:

Self-determination theory (SDT) provides a model to improve pharmacy students' well-being or functioning in their study context. According to SDT, students need a context that satisfies their needs for autonomy, relatedness and competence in order to function optimally. Contextual factors that could have an impact on a student's functioning are lecturers, family, peers and workload.

Objectives:

To investigate whether there is a difference between the contributions family, lecturers, peers and workload make towards the satisfaction of pharmacy students' basic psychological needs within a university context.

Methods:

An electronic survey was administered amongst students registered with the North-West University's School of Pharmacy. Registered pharmacy students, 779, completed said electronic survey comprised of a questionnaire on demographics, BMPN (Balanced Measure of Psychological Needs) and self-developed ANPNS (Antecedents of Psychological Need-satisfaction Scale). Data derived from the afore-going was analysed with the aid of structural equation modelling (SEM).

Results:

Structural equation modelling explained 46%, 25% and 30% respectively of the total group's variances in autonomy, competence and relatedness satisfaction, and 26% of the variance in psychological need frustration. Peers and family played a significant role in the satisfaction of students' need for autonomy, relatedness and competence, whilst workload seemingly hampered satisfaction with regards to relatedness and autonomy. Workload contributed towards frustration with regards to psychological need satisfaction. The role played by lecturers in satisfying pharmacy students' need for autonomy, relatedness and competence will also be highlighted.

Conclusions:

This study added to the body of knowledge regarding contextual factors and the impact those factors have on pharmacy students' need satisfaction by illustrating that not all factors (family, lecturers, peers and workload) can be considered equal. Lecturers ought to recognise the important role family and peers play in the emotional and mental wellbeing of students and utilise those factors in their teaching.

Synopsis:

The mechanism of basic psychological need satisfaction as described in Self-determination theory provide insight into pharmacy students' optimal functioning. Hence the influence of contextual factors, (lecturers, peers, family and workload) on the need satisfaction was investigated by means of a survey. The structural model explained 46%, 25% and 30% of the variances in autonomy, competence and relatedness satisfaction and 26% of the variance in psychological need frustration. Family and Peer support contributed the most to the variance explained of the variables. Lecturers should acknowledge this important role of family and peers and utilise this premise when they design learning encounters.

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