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You’re Happy and You Know It: Social-Cognitive and Environmental Factors’ Impact on Iraqi Student Satisfaction

Rachel Gresk, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Understanding and identifying factors that contribute to student satisfaction is becoming more important in Iraq as competition for student enrollment among universities increases. It also can be extremely useful for educational institutions since it will help them pinpoint their strengths, assess areas for improvement, and ensure they maintain and attract students to their campus. Thus, to understand how to achieve positive student satisfaction, this study sought to identify the social-cognitive factors and institutional environmental influences that relate to student satisfaction in a private institution in Iraq, using social cognitive career theory (SCCT) as a framework. The study found that the SCCT satisfaction model was an excellent fit for examining the impact of social-cognitive factors and institutional environmental influences on satisfaction, and findings agreed with previous SCCT satisfaction studies (e.g., Lent et al., 2003; Lent et al., 2007). Namely, all the social-cognitive factors (academic milestones, coping efficacy, outcome expectations, interests, goals) had either a direct or indirect influence on satisfaction. Outcome expectations, in particular, play a large role in predicting student satisfaction in private universities in Iraq. The SCCT model for student satisfaction offers some important insight for institutions. This study found that environmental supports have a strong positive direct and indirect relationship with student satisfaction, while social barriers have a negative direct effect on satisfaction. Class barriers focused around learning within the classroom and financial barriers were not found to affect student satisfaction in this model. The findings here offer private institutions in Iraq some insight into what factors affect student satisfaction. Insight on any of the social-cognitive factors and environmental influences will provide private institutions in Iraq with much-needed awareness in directions that they could increase student satisfaction and, thus, improve future retention and enrollment rates. On a larger scale, this study contributes to the field of SCCT research by finding that the framework and model are an excellent fit, even within post-conflict societies such as those of Iraq.

Subject Area

Educational administration|Educational leadership|Educational psychology|Middle Eastern Studies|Higher education|Educational sociology

Recommended Citation

Gresk, Rachel, "You’re Happy and You Know It: Social-Cognitive and Environmental Factors’ Impact on Iraqi Student Satisfaction" (2020). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI28153709.