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Much research has acknowledged the importance of self-concept for adolescents’ academic behaviour, motivation, and aspiration, but little is known about the role of self-concept that underpins the motivation and aspiration of higher education students in a specialised field such as medical education. This article draws upon a programme of research over the last three years examining the psychosocial determinants of success for educating home-grown doctors for regional communities. Interviews conducted with Australian medical students found that self-concept is a dynamic and multidimensional phenomenon that emerges through social activity, and plays a crucial role in shaping their motivation and aspirations. For these students in a specialised field in higher education, self-concept not only influences their study performance, but also forms part of their personal and career development. Because of the significant interaction between the self and the social environment, the development of self-concept through a holistic and systemic facilitation of essential psychosocial drivers of success is essential in higher education.


Institute for Positive Psychology and Education

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Open Access Journal Article

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Open Access