A correlational study of the relationship between university students’ spiritual well-being and their academic performance

Hok Ko Joe PONG

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

Abstract

Using both quantitative and qualitative methods, this study aims to examine the relationship between the personal, communal, environmental, and transcendental domains of spiritual well-being of university students in Hong Kong and their academic performance measured by Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA). The study is guided by two research questions. Research Question One: What are the relationships between university students’ spiritual well-being and their academic performance as measured by CGPA?
Research Question Two: If there are any relationships between university students’ spiritual well-being and their academic performance, how are the background demographic variables, including major discipline, family socio-economic status and religious beliefs related to spiritual well-being and academic performance?
The quantitative part of the study consists of a survey that collects data from a random sample of 1,130 Year 2 and Year 3 students from three universities in Hong Kong. The questionnaire used is adapted from the Spiritual Health And Life-Orientation Measure (SHALOM) developed by John Fisher. The quantitative findings indicate a moderate positive relationship between the spiritual well-being of the respondents and their academic performance; the results also demonstrate that students’ academic performance corresponds with their levels of spiritual well-being. The qualitative part of the study is comprised of 11 focus group discussions. The findings of this support the quantitative findings and contribute to the exploration of the background variables that mediate the abovementioned positive relationship. The study also involves data triangulation.
The findings suggest that the resulting positive relationship can be explained by three demographic features, namely, family social-economic status, major disciplines, and religious beliefs. Thus, these demographic features are used to delineate and analyze the positive relationship and the various patterns of the relationship between academic performance and spiritual well-being. Students with high socioeconomic status have a high level of spiritual well-being, which is shown by their high levels of happiness and satisfaction, characteristics of politeness and respect for others, and a high level of critical thinking. Compared with students with high socioeconomic status, those with lower socioeconomic status tend to have a lower level of spiritual well-being, which is illustrated by their lack of knowledge of interests and strengths, feelings of inferiority, sense of resistance, and weaker sense of independent thinking. The study also found that social sciences students have a higher level of spiritual well-being in personal and communal domains in comparison with students from other majors. However, the findings suggest that social sciences students have a lower level of spiritual well-being in environmental domain, whereas students who major in business have a higher level of spiritual well-being in environmental domain. Lastly, the study suggests that Christian students have a higher level of spiritual well-being in all the four domains because they tend to be more thoughtful of the meaning and value of life, more respectful of others, affectionate towards nature and insistent on the pursuit of truth, because of their religious practices. In contrast, respondents with no religious beliefs tend to be less reflective on these issues.
The analysis of these demographic features suggests that they closely correlate to several spiritual characteristics and personalities, namely concentration, perseverance, self-confidence, self-discipline, and interpersonal relationship, which contribute to the pursuit of academic success. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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Keywords

  • Alt. title: The correlational study on the relationship between the students’ spiritual well-beings and their relationship to their academic performances in Hong Kong universities
  • Alt. title: 香港之大學/大專學生的靈性幸福和他們的學業成績表現之間的關係的相關性研究
  • Theses and Dissertations
  • Thesis (Ed.D.)--The Education University of Hong Kong, 2016.