The relationship between general self-efficacy and adaptation among first-year undergraduate students at the University of Zambia in Lusaka

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Mwanza, Mupeta Mercy
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The University of Zambia
The purpose of the study was to investigate what relationship existed between first-year undergraduate students’ perceived general self-efficacy and adaptation to the learning environment at the University of Zambia (UNZA) in Lusaka District. The study further focused on defining and analyzing factors that facilitate adaptation. The objectives were: to determine the general self-efficacy of first year undergraduate students at the University of Zambia; to investigate to what extent first year undergraduate students feel they are adapting to their learning environment; to identify factors that facilitate the adaptation of first year undergraduate students to their learning environment. The theories guiding this study were Albert Bandura’s social cognitive theory, and Urie Bronfenbrenner’s ecological systems theory. The concurrent triangulation research design was used on a sample of 150 first-year undergraduate students at UNZA who were purposively selected. To collect data for the study a semi-structured questionnaire was employed. The data were analyzed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS). In order to determine the relationship between self-efficacy and adaptation, Spearman correlation test was run, and to determine the predictive value of self-efficacy toward adaptation a linear regression test was run. Thematic analysis was also used to tackle the qualitative aspect of the study. Total self-efficacy and adaptation scores were computed, from which means were derived. The study findings showed that 67% of the respondents fell in the range of high self-efficacy, 12% average, two per cent in low range. For adaptation, 51% of respondents fell below average, while 47% were above average, and one percent on average mark itself. Thus, from the above statistics, it can be concluded that fewer students were adapting better compared to the majority. The relationship between self- efficacy and adaptation was found to be weak positive and nonlinear r = .157, p = .056 (p < .1). Self-efficacy was also found to account for only two per cent of variation in adaptation, meaning that other factors accounted for the remaining 98%. These were more accommodation, financial support, improved quantity and quality of academic material in the library, better presence of extra-curricular activities, and recreational facilities, more study space and lecture theatres, improved social conduct, as well as improved operational methods. The study recommends that UNZA administration, through the Dean of Students’ Affairs office (DOSA) promote and even campaign for more recreational facilities and extra-curricular activities. The study further recommends that the Ministry of Higher Education through the University of Zambia expedite the process of investments in on campus accommodation facilities. Further attention should also be paid to normalization of the academic calendar to lessen the academic pressure on both students and lecturers.
Self-efficacy--First year students--University of Zambia