Belonging Mediates Effects of Student-University Fit on Well-Being, Motivation, and Dropout Intention

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About one third of university students drop out from their undergraduate studies. The fit between students’ self-construal and university norms has been suggested to contribute to academic success. Building on this idea, we tested a student-university fit model in a cross-sectional online study among 367 German university students. Results support a P-E fit effect, showing that students with a high dignity self-construal and who perceived the university norms to be highly independent indicated the greatest sense of belonging to the university. In turn, belonging positively predicted well-being and academic motivation and reduced dropout intention. In sum, this study suggests that a person-environment fit analysis can contribute to the understanding of healthy student life and academic success.

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