An Examination of the Impact of Mental Well-Being and Resilience on Academic Outcomes in Further Education Learners in Wales

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Abstract

Further Education (FE) colleges in the UK are under increasing pressure to enhance learner academic outcomes. To explore the personal factors that could have an impact on these outcomes, we conducted a longitudinal, exploratory study to examine the potential relationships between mental well-being (MWB), academic resilience (AR), and sociodemographic factors on learner retention, engagement, attainment in FE. Participants from four FE colleges in Wales (n = 525) completed measures of AR and sociodemographic factors at the start of the academic year, with MWB being measured at three time points across one entire academic year (time point 1, n = 525; time point 2, n = 353; time point 3, n = 249). Statistical analysis reported level of qualification and AR as significant predictors of engagement, and AR as a significant predictor of retention, and close to significant for attainment. MWB alone was not found to be a significant predictor of any of the learner academic outcomes. AR, gender, level of qualification, disability, and WEST literacy scores were significant predictors of MWB. Finally, our results demonstrated no statistically significant difference in MWB scores over time, although, timepoint 2 scores were significantly higher when compared to time points 1 and 3, indicating a degree of fluctuation. Linked to this, the average MWB across timepoints was consistently below the Welsh National average. Consequently, it was posited that AR was a significant predictor for MWB, engagement and retention, and thus a fundamental personal resource for sustaining higher levels of functioning during demanding academic situations.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Further and Higher Education
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 22 Dec 2023

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