Marcus A. Henning1, Christian U. Krägeloh2, Roger Booth3, Erin M. Hill4, Julie Chen5, Craig Webster1,6

1Centre for Medical and Health Sciences Education, University of Auckland, New Zealand; 2Department of Psychology, Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand, 3Molecular Medicine & Pathology, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, University of Auckland, New Zealand; 4Department of Psychology, West Chester University, United States of America; 5Department of Family Medicine and Primary Care, Bau Institute of Medical and Health Sciences Education, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong; 6Department of Anaesthesiology, University of Auckland, New Zealand


This study highlights the use of multi-factor analytical approaches in the investigation of students’ academic performance and their well-being. The aim of the study was to explore the relationships among physical health, competitiveness, perceived stress, motivation, and academic achievement in pre-medical and health science students. Responses were elicited from 339 students preparing for medical and other health science programmes. Questionnaires obtained information regarding gender, age, grade achievement, perceived stress, motivation, physical health, and competitiveness. Due to the subtle gender differences evident in the literature and substantiated by the findings in this study, two structural equation models were generated, one representing male students and the other female students. In general, the illustrated models showed a positive relationship between physical health and enjoyment of competition. Next, physical health was negatively associated with perceived stress, which showed a negative association with self-efficacy and a positive association with test anxiety. Enjoyment of competition was positively associated with self-efficacy. Grade achievement was positively associated with self-efficacy. The models suggest that students, as a whole, experiencing good physical health report less perceived stress and less test anxiety, and more self-efficacy which are associated with positive grade outcomes. These models give insights into how physical health and learning variables may influence grade outcome providing scope for further research into how these relationships impact learning environments, team behaviours, and professional training.

Keywords:            Biomedical and Health Science Students, New Zealand, Motivation, Physical Health, Competitiveness, Academic Achievement

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