Positive Affect and College Success


Nickerson, C., Diener, E., Schwarz, N. (2011). Positive Affect and College Success. Journal of Happiness Studies, 12(4), 717-746.


This study investigated the relation between positive affect and a variety of variables related to college success for undergraduate students matriculating at 21 academically selective 4-year colleges and universities in the United States. Positive affect—cheerfulness—is generally positively related to students’ self-rated academic abilities, self-predicted likelihoods of various college outcomes, self-stated major and academic-degree intentions, and self-reported subjective college outcomes, but negatively related to most objective college-success variables (e.g., cumulative college grade-point average) recorded by the institution of matriculation, and not related to objective college outcomes reported by the student. Positive affect is thus associated with “positive illusions” about college-success variables.

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