Positive psychology theories indicated that satisfying students’ basic psychological needs, including satisfaction of autonomy, competence, and relatedness needs, can promote academic achievements. Recently in an article published in Learning and Instruction, Jianhua Zhou and colleagues conducted a longitudinal study among Chinese adolescents to understand the relationships between basic needs satisfaction at schools, positivity of the students, and academic achievements.
712 seventh graders from two public schools in the Southern China participated in the study. Students completed a survey assessing their basic needs satisfaction at schools and positivity for three consecutive semesters. Students’ final exam scores of each semester in Chinese Language, English Language, and Mathematics were also obtained. The analysis showed that:
- Academic achievement and basic psychological needs satisfaction significantly predicted each other.
- Positivity significantly predicted academic achievement, but achievement did not contribute to positivity.
- Basic psychological needs satisfaction also indirectly predicted academic achievement through positivity.
The authors suggested that the beneficial roles of needs satisfaction and positivity in academic achievement supported the importance of satisfying students’ psychological needs (i.e., satisfaction of autonomy, competence, and relatedness needs) in schools.
Source: Zhou, J., Huebner, E. S., & Tian, L. (2021). The reciprocal relations among basic psychological need satisfaction at school, positivity and academic achievement in Chinese early adolescents. Learning and Instruction, 71, 101370.