Resilience as an Indicator of Students “Academic Entitlement” at the University


University education faces very different students’ academic and attitudinal realities, marked by challenging and demanding attitudes to get good academic grades without having to make too much effort. Some research has shown that there are some resilient factors that influence this fact, and they are associated with the Academic Entitlement. The purpose of this study is to show the existing relationship between Resilience and Academic Entitlement. The investigation was carried out under a quantitative, nonexperimental, cross-sectional approach, with a correlational scope. In the chosen sample (N = 177), 35 students are male and 142 are female. In order to measure variables, two questionnaires using a Likert scale were prepared. The results show a non- linear and statistically significant relationship (r = 165 and p <0.05) between Resilience and Academic Entitlement. Based on these findings, it has been concluded that resilient factors are key for students to develop an attitude of Academic Entitlement. Such attitude causes social and academic problems in both teacher - student relationships and student –student relationships.

Keywords: Academic EntitlementresilienceUniversity students


In recent decades, research has been conducted on people who, despite having a series of difficulties in their lives, have managed to overcome these problems. In particular, university students presenting socioeconomic or family issues affecting their biopsychosocial development (Herrera et al., 2019). Based on these issues, a question arises: How do such people manage to face adverse situations, create protective shields against the risks of failure, take on challenges and achieve their goal successfully? In her study carried out in 1982, Emmy Werner managed to identify several protective factors including: self-esteem, introspection, independence, sociability, initiative, morality, humor and critical thinking (Peralta et al., 2006). That is to say that an individual will gradually learn to face reality based on these characteristics which will allow him to grow up as an active, prudent and skilled person capable to face adversity. Such characteristics are acquired through education and during past experiences. People want to develop themselves in a society where they act according to their needs. They nourish themselves with thoughts, emotions and adopt attitudes to respond assertively to what they believe is necessary for their well-being. Such view is present today in higher education institutions. Students’ conception is to achieve their goals based on their effort but not necessarily on their aptitudes. Such mindset may expose them to an unbalance quagmire in terms of achievement and failure. The purpose of this research is to introduce resilience as a variable linked to student's attitude towards Academic Entitlement viewed as an academic justice with its set of norms and laws aimed to individual's well-being within an institution. Nowadays, the prevailing liberal educational model views students' well-being and their academic right as fundamental and consequently university, as an institution which is part of the society, must fulfill these expectations. Such perception supports that each student is unique and that education should be a pleasurable, free and motivating experiences. That said, it is understood that in different educational contexts, student's success depends on 3 different factors that have changed the university vision itself. For this reason, resilience is considered as a psychological factor that is closely related to Academic Entitlement. This statement seems in line with many studies about students' attitudes, behaviors and rights across different and diverse population from different universities throughout the world. University students who are willing to take on challenges attribute their success to their own ability. Likewise, they associate their potential failures to their lack of effort. Therefore, when these students perform poorly, they do not lose motivation because they tend to renew their efforts and keep trying (Gómez & Gundín, 2018). In this sense, resilient individuals must test themselves with gradually challenging tasks which come from their own efforts. They assume responsibility to obtain continuous achievement, establishing limits and developing control skills to be able to face adverse environments. They differentiate good from bad to get interdependent. They face problems through solutions and adjust their behaviors according to the situations. However, in the current educational environment, one of the personal shortcomings we can observe which prevent students to achieve success is their attitude itself known as the Academic Entitlement. Academic Entitlement can be defined in a many ways, but generally it refers to the attitude of a student who may expect good grade or preferential treatment without investing himself significant effort or time (Romanelli et al., 2012). For Chowning and Campbell (2009) Academic Entitlement "is the tendency to have expectation of academic success to achieve success without taking personal responsibility". In the academic environment, the growing literature about the topic describes Academic Entitlement dire consequences. It is indeed one of the main reasons for student's unrealistic expectations about the role of teacher and student in terms of educational achievement (Prestron & Boswell, 2015). That is to say that, over time, the last generations of university students have adopted unusual attitudes and behaviors regarding their academic results. They also exhibit high educational demands without understanding the necessity to make efforts or without exhibiting any responsibility. 4 Instead, students should learn to develop attitudes based on ways to balance their own need for empathy and social environmental influences. In order to reach success, they should focus on merit and the development of a successful student life which will allow the individual to grow himself within the competitiveness of the different processes. Educational standards have created an entire generation of young people willing to claim high grades against low performance and who are unhappy when their expectations regarding results are not in line with what they expected (Jiménez, 2018). There are both personal and social generators affecting some behaviors often observed in university classrooms. Some students exhibiting challenging behavior demand academic approval without showing any merit and they claim good grades even though they have not demonstrate any effort in the academic process. Such claims are often made at the expense of teachers and university’s staff authority. Some research explains how parents also play a fundamental role in this situation and consequently how they affect those behaviors in a positive or negative way. On the one hand there is motivation. Many parents experience a strong desire to see their children succeed as future professionals. On the other hand, the parents may also influence the student's decisions regarding his choice of convenience. As a consequence, the student may totally lose any feeling of responsibility, self-interest, self-esteem and the personal desire for success. Therefore, as they feel unmotivated, students' behavior is negatively reaffirmed. They make professors guilty for their low performance and consequently guilty of their failure. This has also a negative impact on the student-teacher relationships including a lack of confidence and difficulties to create the adequate environment for the teaching-learning process to develop efficiently. There are many research describing students' attitudes during courses at the university. They illustrate their inability to adapt to the academic environment. Such attitudes may be the result of the student's personality and traits, but also it may be caused by the institution itself or by the student's perception about his own rights. Resilience fosters the emergence of a protective shield in the face of adversity by developing student’s interpersonal skills and emotional experiences. 5 Resilience is defined as "the human capacity to face life's adversities, overcome them and be positively transformed by them" (Cardoso, 2009) by facing different family, social and educational situations in an assertive way. In their research, Sánchez and Robles (2015), deeply studied the Resilience aspect because of its implications on risk prevention and human development enhancement. Resilience is then considered as a process of improvement in the face of a shortfall consisting in adopting different features in response to changes experienced during a person's life. Such process may result in success or failure. That is why resilience is considered as an object of study in the educational context. Indeed, nowadays, this is a problem faced by many university students and it greatly impacts their academic success. The need for change and adaptation arises when students want to undertake particular postures in response to the different challenges they face at university. In this way, they develop the capacity to cope with these difficult conditions and to achieve good academic results. However, the university student is often experiencing situations of stress and challenge, so that the university becomes an important area for promoting resilience. There, teachers become the promoters or the drivers for resilience. They represent an important emotional support for their students as they help them to build strength, resources and knowledge in the face of adverse or stressful environments (Ruiz et al., 2018) from time to time, human beings have to face different challenging and demanding situations which require them to do their best to produce positive results. The different steps through which a university student has to go through in order to achieve such results are no exception. However, it is often in front of adversities that students lose their capabilities and skills and it generates frustration in respect to the goals they set for themselves. A proactive student aims towards a goal, that is to say, he plans his actions in advance and defines milestones to fulfill his objectives. He also refines his capacities and reflects about the issues he is confronted to for the first time. He is also willing to study. He defines time slots he must dedicate to it. Finally, he also gets involved in non-academic activities and develops leadership skills as he experiences leadership challenges (Rosas, 2018). That is why this research, based on the results of studies carried out in more than twenty developing countries, states that one of the key element to get good performance is to get involved in such activities as they improve results (Peralta et al., 2006). Therefore, it can be pointed out that it makes sense for institutions to promote leadership, motivation, active participation and responsibility, along with orientations workshops aiming to improve study time management and study plans. In addition, extracurricular activities strengthen students' personal growth, especially those involving their life project organization or the one establishing clear goals and objectives. Such initiatives make part of the resilient factor which is further discussed in this research study. (Peralta et al., 2006) Other theoretical research focusing on the promotion of resilience highlighted the value of the school in the construction of resilient individuals who experience cognitive difficulties. The project encouraged proactive and healthy elements allowing students to find their place in the society. It also mentioned that such attitudes start at school. As a whole, school was perceived as a special social interactive and bonding place where possibility always prevails before impossibility (Losada & Latour, 2012). According to this research, the negative stereotypes attached to students with cognitive disabilities motivate even more the interest in opening up spaces promoting resilience. Indeed, such places foster teaching, stimulate academic performance, and independence, but also unity, and abilities. Resilience in education should start at basic levels and continue throughout schooling (Losada & Latour, 2012) In other words, resilience is especially important for university students as it allows them to get more responsible and to keep a personal balance and harmony. It also helps them to face challenging situations they may experience and eventually it’s a key element to achieve academic success. An exploratory research about Academic Entitlement Measure was carried out at the University of Windsor in Canada. It studied students' power and tried to measure it using aspects linked to behavior, academic conduct and emotional states. Participants were questioned about their general attitudes towards education, educational and 7 academic achievement, behaviors, and demanding attitudes according to their needs (Jackson et al., 2011). Researchers emphasized that there is a problem characterized by several elements. First, the student's ignorance about the educational model of his institution, then a lack of academic rigor and finally a poor integration to his institutional life. They concluded by recommending supporting specific programs to improve student success. Other studies analyzed students' academic performance and compared it with the general level of resilience. A 67% performance level was considered as satisfactory which corresponded to 61.6% of resilience. It shows that the relationship between resilience and academic performance is neither evident nor direct. Thus, a significant percentage of students seems to have a proactive attitude. This allows them to face adversities thanks to introspection, initiative, humor, interaction, independence, creativity, morality, and critical thinking. However, considering the profile of the UTS student, it is mainly suggested to promote resilience in the student community (Aldana et al., 2016) affirms that a resilient student commits to his responsibilities and that the trust in personal academic abilities is one of the first steps to achieve performance. According to Caballero & Sánchez (2018), a school environment fostering resilience among its students is the best way to improve the quality of the student body. Indeed, it stimulates both the teaching learning process, prevent crisis and promotes life skills among their students, which leads to better handling when they face adversity. Fostering student's resilience reduces dropout rate, poor labor insertion, low productivity, and later low income and poor standard of living. It also helps to achieve the challenges set by the SUT, i.e. improving educational quality, expanding university accessibility and achieving greater social benefit to have a significant impact on the development of its areas of influence (Aldana et al., 2016). For these reasons, they recommend in future research to promote resilience throughout the entire university community. They consider that university is a frame of reference promoting human capacities to overcome life adversity and ultimately to become stronger (Aldana et al., 2016). Therefore, these factors dramatically influence the levels of failure or success of students within 8 the university system and they make it possible to act when sound measures are taken. Such research will contribute to the understanding of Academic Entitlement and it will allow both students and teachers to act together to emphasize resilience at the university. This can be very useful to satisfy adaptive needs in relation to the quality of student success. It will also help to determine aspects influencing university students and to guide those in charge at the University of helping students to develop their capacities and to increase their potential in the way they should and according to the results obtained by the students.

Problem Statement

At present, higher education policies tend to be more permissive, this has developed in university students an attitude of "Academic Entitlement" this means that they assume a right to receive excellent grades even though they have not made the necessary effort to deserve them, then, the hypothesis is that when resilience is not developed, university students assume this attitude.

Research Questions

The following research questions have been considered in this research:

How is resilience related to "Academic entitlement" in college students?

What is the resilience level of college students?

Is the "Academic entitlement" developed in university students?

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this research focused on demonstrating that students’ resilience is a psychologic factor that affects the “Academic entitlement”

Research Methods

The research was realized on the quantitative approach. According to (Hernández & Fernández, 2014) it is based on a sequential and evidential process, because its order cannot be changed. The study is based on a non-experimental and cross-sectional design and the variables are measured only once. A correlational study was carried out during the research. Data processing and analysis was made using a statistical software called SPSS 22.0.


The studied population is made of 177 students from the Northern Technical University in Ibarra, Ecuador (Universidad Técnica del Norte). The chosen students study Educational Psychology and Psychopedagogy. 19.8% of them are male students while 80.2% are female. The entire population is between first and eighth semester. view table 1


The instruments are made of a questionnaire to measure the level of Resilience. The questionnaire enquires students about their attitudes and their competitiveness. It consists of 14 items using a Likert type response scale. The reliability analysis of the scale is a=0.49. The Academic Entitlement Scale was also used. It consists of 13 Likert type items. The instrument scored a=0.54 which confirms that the questionnaires were reliable for the given research.


About the topic conceptualization, we made a bibliographic research. Related literature was compiled from high impact studies databases. This enabled us to identify the relevant information and define accurately the variables of the research. Field research allowed us to get actual data information to apply the instruments on the studied population. In order to present collected information, data was entered in the SPSS statistical software, and then it was processed to obtain descriptive and correlational data of the studied variables. The results were analyzed using the synthetic analytical method to establish conclusions and compare them to the results showed in the literature.


The study shows a normal distribution of the results in the different scales applied (table 2 ). For this purpose, the Kolmogrov-Smirnov normality test was used. Its p-value is 0.059 in the scale scores related to attitude and competitiveness and its p-value is 0.20 for Academic Entitlement scale. table 2 Tests of Normality Kolmogrov-Smirnov (a) Shapiro-Wilk Statistics gl Sig. Statistics gl Sig. Academic resilience 0.069 160 0.059 0.938 160 0.0 0.05 160 0.200* 0.87 160 0.133 * This is a lower limit of the real Signification (a) Error signification of Lilliefors

Descriptive analysis

High scores on the Resilience scale show a very high level of student ability to cope with the 11 different academic demands they experience during their student life. However X=55 with a standard deviation=8 (see table 3 ) shows that students have not developed yet such resilience. High scores on the Academic Entitlement scale explain student’s attitude of demanding good grades without taking into account the effort (X=61 with a standard deviation of 9.4, table 3 ). Therefore, it is concluded that students have developed Academic Entitlement.

Correlation analysis

Pearson's correlation shows that there is a non-linear and statistically significant relationship r=-,165* and p<0.05 (Table 4 ) between Resilience and Academic Entitlement. This means that when students develop skills to cope with academic difficulties in their student life, their attitude of demanding good grades with little effort is lower and vice versa.

Regression analysis

The quadratic regression r2=0.027 indicates the percentage of incidence of the independent variable on the dependent one. 2.7% of Academic Entitlement is influenced by resilient factors on the student in addition to other factors, view table 5 . In addition graph 1 demonstrates the nonlinear relation between the variable. The descriptive statistics are presented in the (Álvarez & Cáceres, 2018).

Table 1 -
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Table 2 -
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Table 3 -
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Table 4 -
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Table 5 -
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The development of resilience should be encouraged from childhood so that more people can face adverse situations, and even more so in academic training. Human beings should become emotionally mature in relation to their studies to positively influence their academic performance and achieve success. Moreover, the new generation of students should not blame their teachers or other external factors beyond their capacity and responsibility for their academic failure. They shouldn't believe that they deserve recognition without making any effort. Currently, most university students have not been able to develop a good resilience level. Consequently, it makes it more challenging for them to fully develop academically at the university. As a matter of fact, students do not strive to achieve academic success and as a consequence they continue to fail without accepting the responsibility they have in the process. With today's educational model, the tendency is that students do not make enough effort to achieve success. As a consequence, the student feels frustrated and attributes it to the teacher for his poor academic performance. Teachers are often blamed for not giving students fair treatment when in fact it's them who did not comply with all the standards to achieve their goal. Parents also influence their children's behavior. Indeed, transmitting some set of skills that will be useful to their children in the future largely depends on parents. This includes skills for personal success. When such value is not acquired by children, they are unable to demonstrate resilience and therefore they will not be able to make efforts to achieve their goals. This will lead to a series of academic failures that the student usually cannot analyse. Most of the time, he will not accept the fact that he is doing something wrong as he thinks that he has tried hard enough even though he hasn’t. In many cases, students want to be ranked as excellent students without having to make an effort. Such mindset generates academic behaviors and emotional states that are not suitable with the university environment and its demand because students have not demonstrated resilience or they have not been encouraged enough by the university to demonstrate it in order to face academic adversities that may arise.


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Torres, C. G., Macias, A. N., Navarrete, J. G., & Toledo, D. S. (2021). Resilience as an Indicator of Students “Academic Entitlement” at the University. In C. Guzmán Torres, & J. V. Barba (Eds.), Psychosocial Risks in Education and Quality Educational Processes, vol 109. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 97-106). European Publisher.