Female students ‘with resilience’ perform better than men

Tough-minded women are likely to do better in their university studies than men with similar characteristics of “resilience”, a study says.

March 8, 2014

Academics at Leeds Metropolitan University tested around 1,500 students at the start of their first year to see if levels of psychological resilience – deemed “the capacity of individuals to adapt to new challenges” – affected academic performance.

Those who were judged as “resilient” were more likely to do well in their first year studies, but the trend was much more pronounced for female students than for male ones.

Resilient women are twice as likely to average a first or a 2:1 in their first year at university than resilient men, the study says.

In some cases, men with higher resilience scores did worse than those less able to cope with stress – a phenomenon not seen in women.

John Allan, senior lecturer in physical education and sports pedagogy, who conducted the research with Jim McKenna, professor of physical activity and health, said the research demonstrated the “unpredictability of adaptive capacity”.

“Although at the end of the inductees’ first academic year the outcomes suggested similar academic performance by gender, higher resilience was progressively and incrementally associated with higher grade profiles for females,” added Professor McKenna.

The study may suggest the general nature of higher education is better suited to women, particularly those with a tough mindset, the researchers said.

It also recommended extra counseling is provided for male students because psychologically resilient men are not fulfilling their academic potential, perhaps through a “purposeful and functional choice”, it adds.

This course of action has already been adopted at Leeds Met as a result of the research, the study adds.

jack.grove@tsleducation.com

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Most Commented

men in office with feet on desk. Vintage

Three-quarters of respondents are dissatisfied with the people running their institutions

A group of flamingos and a Marabou stork

A right-wing philosopher in Texas tells John Gill how a minority of students can shut down debates and intimidate lecturers – and why he backs Trump

A face made of numbers looks over a university campus

From personalising tuition to performance management, the use of data is increasingly driving how institutions operate

students use laptops

Researchers say students who use computers score half a grade lower than those who write notes

Canal houses, Amsterdam, Netherlands

All three of England’s for-profit universities owned in Netherlands