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Koob, Clemens ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0291-6413; Schröpfer, Kristina; Coenen, Michaela ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7492-7907; Kus, Sandra and Schmidt, Nicole (27. July 2021): Factors influencing study engagement during the COVID-19 pandemic: A cross-sectional study among health and social professions students.
In: PLoS ONE 16(7), e0255191 [PDF, 607kB]


Background: The aim of this study is to explore factors influencing the study engagement of health and social professions students during the COVID-19 pandemic. While antecedents of study engagement have been studied previously, the factors influencing engagement under pandemic conditions have not yet been investigated. Furthermore, there is a particular need for research among students in health and social professions programs, as these students are particularly affected by the pandemic. As theoretical basis, the study draws on the demands-resources-theory. It is hypothesized that pandemic-related study and personal resources drive engagement during the pandemic, and that pandemic-related demands negatively influence engagement.

Method: The study uses a cross-sectional survey to explore the hypothesized effects. The sample consists of 559 university students of health and social professions in Germany. The study was carried out in July 2020, towards the end of the first digital semester and after the first peak in COVID-19 cases. Data are analyzed using linear multiple regression analysis.

Results: The findings show that the demands-resources-theory is suitable to explain study engagement even under pandemic conditions. Suitable digital learning formats and social support are identified as important study resources for study engagement during major life events, while emotional resilience, active self-care and academic self-efficacy are identified as important personal resources.

Conclusions: Under pandemic conditions academic institutions should focus on providing beneficial teaching formats and innovative ways to support students lacking social networks. Besides, they should consider developing means to help students structuring daily life as well as establishing initiatives to strengthen students’ self-efficacy beliefs.

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