Research in Higher Education

, Volume 46, Issue 6, pp 677–706 | Cite as

Self-Efficacy, Stress, and Academic Success in College

  • Anna Zajacova
  • Scott M. Lynch
  • Thomas J. EspenshadeEmail author


This paper investigates the joint effects of academic self-efficacy and stress on the academic performance of 107 nontraditional, largely immigrant and minority, college freshmen at a large urban commuter institution. We developed a survey instrument to measure the level of academic self-efficacy and perceived stress associated with 27 college-related tasks. Both scales have high reliability, and they are moderately negatively correlated. We estimated structural equation models to assess the relative importance of stress and self-efficacy in predicting three academic performance outcomes: first-year college GPA, the number of accumulated credits, and college retention after the first year. The results suggest that academic self-efficacy is a more robust and consistent predictor than stress of academic success.


self-efficacy stress academic nontraditional college immigrant minority retention performance 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anna Zajacova
    • 1
  • Scott M. Lynch
    • 2
  • Thomas J. Espenshade
    • 3
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.Fifth-Year Graduate Student, Office of Population Research and Department of SociologyPrinceton UniversityUSA
  2. 2.Assistant Professor of Sociology and Faculty Associate, Office of Population ResearchPrinceton UniversityUSA
  3. 3.Professor of Sociology and Faculty Associate, Office of Population ResearchPrinceton UniversityUSA
  4. 4.Office of Population ResearchPrinceton UniversityPrincetonUSA

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