Date Awarded

Spring 2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)




Tracy L. Cross

Committee Member

Thomas J. Ward

Committee Member

Jason A. Chen

Committee Member

Jennifer R. Cross


This quantitative study investigated the predictive role of the Big Five personality traits on academic achievement and its mediation by self-efficacy in self-regulated learning and academic motivation within the sample of gifted students (N = 161). The ACT or ACT Explore scores were used as a measure of academic achievement. The first question asked about the relationships between the Big Five personality traits and all other measured variables. Agreeableness, conscientiousness, and openness were found to have significant associations with the ACT/ACT Explore composite and subtest scores. The second research question asked if personality, motivation, and self-regulatory efficacy differed by grade and gender. The results revealed that middle school students scored significantly higher than high school students on extraversion. Female students scored higher on neuroticism and lower on extraversion compared to their male counterparts. In addition, female students had more controlled type of motivation than male students. The third question was about the interplay between personality traits, self-regulatory efficacy, academic motivation, and academic achievement. Self-regulatory efficacy, controlled motivation, and autonomous motivation were hypothesized to serve as mediators in the relationships between personality traits and academic achievement. of the Big Five traits, conscientiousness, agreeableness, and openness were presented in the path analysis model. All three personality traits had direct effects on academic achievement. The indirect effects of these traits through specific pathways were estimated. The present study contributes to the research field by revealing important relationships between specific constructs that have been suggested by personality, social cognitive, and self-determination theories. Academic motivation and self-regulatory efficacy established as important mediators of the association between Big Five personality traits and academic achievement. These findings suggest that educators should be aware of their students’ different personality traits. Educators play an important role in promoting self-regulated learning (Peeters et al., 2014) and fostering intrinsic motivation and task engagement (Reeve, 2002). They should be trained to enhance students’ efficacy by developing their self-regulatory skills through internalization of effective strategies for learning. In addition, teachers should learn how to be more autonomy supportive with students. Educational leaders have a key responsibility to make these happen effectively. They should give proactive attention to these requirements and ensure that their teachers are well-equipped to integrate self-regulatory and motivational resources into the school curriculum.




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