Academic underachievement, self-esteem and self-efficacy in decision making

Pina Filippello, Luana Sorrenti, Rosalba Larcan, Amelia Rizzo


The aim of the study was to investigate the relationship between decision making styles, self-esteem and self-beliefs about decision- making ability and the differences linked to academic performance. A sample of 100 students split into two groups aged 15-16 years and 17-18 years participated in the study. All subjects compiled the Multidimensional Self-esteem Test (T.M.A. – Bracken, 1993) for the evaluation of academic success and competence of environmental control and How I Make my Choices (H.M.C. – Filippello et al., 2011), a structured interview, specifically designed to measure decision-making styles in two different contexts (school context vs. social context) and decision-making self-efficacy (Low vs. High Self-efficacy in making decisions).

The exploratory factor analysis reflects the theorized construction. Age and gender differences were found. Furthermore, as expected, low academic performance was associated with lower self-esteem, lower decision-making self-efficacy and more dysfunctional decision-making styles. Students with a high  academic performance, instead, showed higher self-esteem, higher decision-making self-efficacy and more functional decision-making styles.

Data encourages the use of H.M.C., not only in the research of personality but also for educational and counseling purposes.


Decision making; Self-esteem; Self-efficacy; Adolescence

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