A study analyzes happiness and academic performance in

A study analyzes happiness and academic performance in university students
A research study carried out at the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M) analyses the happiness of
university students and the possible influence of emotional well-being and the degree of self-knowledge in their
academic performance.
The study, carried out by the psychologist, Guillermo Ballenato, head of psychological orientation and
psycho-pedagogy at UC3M, aims to throw light on several issues: Are university students happy? Does a student’s
personality approximate a hypothetical profile associated with emotional well-being? In what way can the degree
of self- knowledge influence academic performance? Which factors stand out in those students who achieve their
top intellectual potential?
This research has been carried out from data of more than 100 students and from observations gathered
within the framework of the psycho-pedagogical assessment activity of Guillermo Ballenato over the last 12 years,
with the aim of optimizing student’s academic performance and contributing to a complete education. The recent
publication of his book “Merezco ser feliz” (I deserve to be happy), from La Esfera de los Libros publishers,
develops several variables especially linked to happiness and previews some of the results obtained.
A positive self image seems to improve academic performance.
Comparative analysis of those students who obtained higher or lower performance from their intellectual
capacity reveals especially relevant and meaningful data. It has been determined, for example, that variables such
as self-image, motivation, and anxiety are determining factors in this sense. “Students who make the most of their
potential tend to over-evaluate their intellectual capacity and control and to describe themselves as sensitive”,
Professor Ballenato reports. “Positive beliefs about their capacity tend to be directly reflected in their
performance, which seems to acquire a marked predictive nature”, he added.
A significant tendency of overestimating traits such as kindness, emotional stability, liveliness,
extrovertedness, and perfectionism can be observed. “They tend to see themselves as more practical, integrated
and open than they actually are in reality, taking into account that the test group describes themselves as more
idealistic, individualistic and reserved”, Guillermo Ballenato points out. Those students who describe themselves
as happier furthermore reflected in their profile high ratings in factors linked to emotional well-being: kindness,
stability, happiness, daring, trust, security, spontaneity, flexibility, and relaxation. Happiness tends to have a
subjective component. The psychologist continued, “The results reveal that they feel happier because of their selfimage and because of the similarity of the personality profile with the hypothetical profile associated with
emotional well-being.”
The study has been carried out based on the comparisons of self-evaluations done by students regarding their
own personalities with the results obtained in the questionnaire; this data has been taken as an indictor of the
degree of self-knowledge. In addition, their score has been compared on a scale of logic with their academic
performance upon entering the university, which provides an approximation to the degree to which they reach
their full intellectual potential. The data has been crossed, talking into account variables such as gender, age, type
of studies, or year at the university.
The results of this research do not seem to confirm the initial idea that a greater degree of self knowledge
could be linked to increased academic performance. According to the author of the study, the data indicates trends
which require further study to help them better understand the reason behind the results obtained.
Further information:
Estudio(Study): Influencia del autoconocimiento sobre el rendimiento académico en los estudiantes
universitarios (The Influence of Self-Knowledge on Academic Performance in University Students)
Autor: Guillermo Ballenato
Libro: Merezco ser feliz. El regalo de una vida en positivo.(I deserve to be happy. The gift of a positive life.)
La Esfera de los libros, Madrid, 2009.