The evaluation of individual and relational factors in university drop-out through a statistical analysis model of mediation


The present study aims to examine the relationships between affective dimensions (psychological distress and levels of experienced anxiety and anger), relational dimensions (interaction with the university context) and the risk of drop-out in a sample of 128 university students (88.8% women, average age 21), recruited through the Ongoing University Guidance Service of the Department of Education at Roma Tre University, and during the university laboratory exercises. Students filled a battery of online questionnaires, which included: a) a drop-out intention scale; b) the STAI-Y assessing anxiety levels; c) the STAXI evaluating anger levels; d) the OQ-45.2 assessing psychological distress; e) a short scale assessing the quality of engagement with university context. Statistical analyses showed positive correlations between drop-out intention and anxiety, anger levels and psychological distress. Negative correlations between drop-out and poor quality of engagement with university were also revealed. Regression models indicate that high scores of socio-relational problems, inadequate student-teacher relationship and high levels of self- directed anger predict drop-out intention. A mediation analysis reveals the quality of the student-teacher relationship as a mediator between psychological distress and the intention of abandonment, highlighting the central role of the educational and didactic relationship.