|Traditionally, intelligence has been viewed to be the best predictor of academic achievement in
tertiary education institutions. However, research has found the relationship between
intelligence and academic achievement to be rather weak and emotional competence is
suggested to be a better measure of academic achievement. Even though emotional
intelligence (EQ) is the most well-known measure of emotional competence, research on the
relationship between academic achievement and EQ has yielded mixed results. EQ further also
has limitations which attracts criticism. As a result of these criticism, psychological mindedness
(PM), a concept closely related to EQ, is used in this study as a measure of emotional
competence. Advantages of PM in comparison to EQ is that it is more comprehensive and also
that its nature and meaning are more clear.
The objectives of this study were to determine whether there is a correlation between PM
and academic achievement, and also whether there are differences in demographics (academic
year, gender, race, degree or diploma enrolled for) in relation to both PM and academic
A cross-sectional survey design was used and 211 undergraduate students enrolled for
psychology as module, at the Potchefstroom Campus of the North-West University participated.
A biographical questionnaire as well as the Psychological Mindedness Scale (PMS) was
administered during the scheduled class times for undergraduate Psychology modules, and
informed consent have been obtained before the academic records of the participants were
drawn from the Student Administration System. In order to be able to interpret the data,
correlations, t-tests and a one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) were calculated.
This study has found a positive correlation between PM and academic achievement, but
no difference in PM between students of various academic years, genders, races and degrees
or diplomas enrolled for, respectively. Thus, even though there is a relationship between PM
and academic achievement, other factors that are not related to PM may also play a role.
It is recommended that a questionnaire that captures the mood of participants are
included when further studies are done on the relationship between PM and academic achievement. A further recommendation is that large and diversified samples are used. The
above-mentioned recommendations may result in the achievement of more accurate results that
may be generalisable.
With regard to further studies, it is recommended that the five factors included in the PMS
be analysed separately as this may give an indication of exactly which factors in the scale
correlates the best with academic achievement. If this is known specific attention may be given
to the development of these factors amongst students who are struggling academically.