Future time perspective, socio-emotional regulation, and diurnal cortisol patterns in post-secondary engineering students
Built upon Control Value Theory, this dissertation consists of two studies that examine university students’ future-oriented motivation, socio-emotional regulation, and diurnal cortisol patterns in understanding students’ well-being in the academic-context. Study 1 examined the roles that Learning-related Hopelessness and Future Time Perspective Connectedness play in predicting students’ diurnal cortisol patterns, diurnal cortisol slope (DS) and cortisol awakening response (CAR). Self-reported surveys were collected (N = 60), and diurnal cortisol samples were provided over two waves, the week before a mid-term examination (n = 46), and the week during students’ mid-term (n = 40). Using multi-nomial logistic regression, results showed that Learning-related Hopelessness was not predictive of diurnal cortisol pattern change after adjusting for key covariates; and that Future Time Perspective Connectedness predicted higher likelihood for students to have low CAR across both waves of data collection. Study 2 examined students’ future-oriented motivation (Future Time Perspective Value) and socio-emotional regulation (Effortful Control and Social Support) in predicting diurnal cortisol patterns over the course of a semester. Self-reported surveys were collected (N = 67), and diurnal cortisol samples were provided over three waves of data collection, at the beginning of the semester (n = 63), during a stressful academic period (n = 47), and during a relaxation phase near the end of the semester (n = 43). Results from RM ANCOVA showed that Non-academic Social Support was negatively associated with CAR at the beginning of the semester. Multi-nomial logistics regression results indicated that Future Time Perspective Value and Academic Social Support jointly predicted CAR pattern change. Specifically, the interaction term marginally predicted a higher likelihood of students switching from having high CAR at the beginning or stressful times in the semester to having low CAR at the end the semester, compared to those who had low CAR over all three waves. The two studies have major limits in sample size, which restricted the full inclusion of all hypothesized covariates in statistical models, and compromised interpretability of the data. However, the methodology and theoretical implications are unique, providing contributions to educational research, specifically with regard to post-secondary students’ academic experience and well-being.