Majda Rijavec and Dubravka Miljković: Reasons for missing classes in college: the role of personality traits

Reasons for missing classes in college: the role of personality traits
Majda Rijavec and Dubravka Miljković
Faculty of Teacher Education, University of Zagreb, Croatia

Class attendance is a problem for many students and teachers.  The aim of this study was to investigate the reasons for missing classes as well as the relationship between students’ personality traits and tendency to miss classes for different reasons.
The first part of the study describes the development of a self-report measure of reasons for missing classes in college. A list of 30 items related to reasons for skipping classes had been collected in the sample of 50 college students. These items were administered to 243 college students. Exploratory factor analysis of the data produced five categories of reasons: apathy and distraction, personal problems and difficulties, health issues, having no consequences and boring and useless lectures. Internal consistencies were in the .70 to .79 range. The most frequent reason was having no consequences and the least frequent apathy and distraction. Older students tend to miss classes more than younger ones because of apathy and distraction, personal problems and boring and useless lectures.Gender differences were found only for apathy and distraction with male students reporting to be more prone to skip classes for these reasons.
In addition to Reasons for missing classes scale, IPIP personality test was administered on a subsample of 181 students. Several hierarchical analyses were performed with personality variables as predictor and reasons for missing classis as criteria variables. Results showed that conscientiousness was significant negative predictor for missing classes because of apathy and distraction, boring and useless lectures and having no consequences. In addition to that openness to experience was significant negative predictor and extraversion significant positive predictor of missing classes because there are no consequences for that.
It was concluded that personality traits, especially conscientiousness, play significant role in students’ tendency to skip classes. Since previous research have shown positive relationship between class attendance and college grades, policies aimed at increasing attendance might be worth considering.
Key words: student behaviour, class attendance, missing classes, personality traits