Social cognitive factors of academic and life satisfaction in Meister high school students in South Korea
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This study is the first to test the validity of Lent’s (2004) social cognitive model of well-being with a sample of Korean Meister high school students. The participants were 720 seniors who were majoring in mechanical engineering. Structural equation modeling was used to test the fit of the hypothesized models to the data. Findings of the current study generally supported and extended the utility and validity of the hypothesized model of well-being in a culturally different context. Life and academic satisfaction were associated with social cognitive variables and personality traits. The predictors accounted for 60.5% of the variance in academic satisfaction and for 50.5% of the variance in life satisfaction. Meister high school students’ life satisfaction was predicted by personality traits, academic satisfaction, and goal progress. Academic satisfaction was predicted directly by goal progress, outcome expectations, and environmental supports. That is, Meister high school students were likely to report satisfaction with their academic experience when they received support from teachers, parents, and friends for pursuing and studying their majors, expected positive outcomes after graduation, and progressed toward their academic goals. Contrary to expectations, academic self-efficacy and personality traits did not explain significant unique variations in academic satisfaction. Cultural differences may explain the lack of interaction among academic self-efficacy, personality traits, and academic satisfaction. In addition, the strongest direct effect of environmental support to academic satisfaction in the current study may be consistent with this unique cultural feature in which family and social obligations, relationships with others, and meeting social norms and expectations are primary sources of individual satisfaction.