This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

The Impacts of Basic Psychological Needs and Big Five Personality Traits on Academic Engagement




Jang, Hyun Sung

Type of Degree

PhD Dissertation


Education Foundation, Leadership, and Technology

Restriction Status


Restriction Type


Date Available



The purpose of the present study was to investigate the impacts of basic psychological needs and the Big Five personality traits on college students’ academic engagement. Grounded in self-determination theory: basic psychological needs, namely autonomy, competence, and relatedness, have been found to increase students’ well-being as well as their motivation (Ryan & Deci, 2018). Other scholars have noted the impacts of these psychological needs on student engagement (Adi Badiozaman et al., 2020; Buzzai et al., 2021; Dincer et al., 2019; Eghdami & Yousefi, 2018; Huang et al. 2019; Leo et al., 2022; Sun et al., 2019). Along with the basic psychological needs, the Big Five personality traits, including openness to experience, conscientiousness, agreeableness, extraversion, and emotional stability (i.e., neuroticism), have been found to affect student learning (De Feyter al. 2012; Mammadov et al., 2018; Stajkovic et al., 2018) as well as their engagement (Mahama et al., 2022; Vural & Eskici, 2020; Zhang et al., 2020). Nonetheless, little research has concurrently studied basic psychological needs and the Big Five traits on these specific constructs of academic engagement: behavioral, emotional, and cognitive. For this reason, the present study was designed to narrow the existing gap in the literature. Using convenience sampling, the participants were recruited from a Southeastern university in the United States across diverse fields. Data were collected through the following scales: the Basic Psychological Need Satisfaction and Frustration Scale (Chen et al., 2015), Ten-Item Personality Inventory (Gosling et al., 2003), and School Engagement Measure (Fredricks et al., 2005). Due to reliability issues, the present study ended up focusing on competence, relatedness, extraversion, and emotional stability (i.e., neuroticism) for the predictors and emotional engagement and cognitive engagement for the criterions. Using SPSS, multiple regression analyses were conducted. The results indicated that the needs for competence and relatedness were significant predictors of emotional engagement. None of the predictors were found to be significant for cognitive engagement. Based on these results, university administration and faculty can incorporate the roles of basic psychological needs in their strategic planning and policy implantation to adequately support college students and increase their academic engagement.