What have we here? The relationship between student attendance and wellbeing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Two signifcant areas of contemporary legal education research are
student wellbeing and student attendance. It is well established that,
when compared with the general population, university students,
including those studying law, are at greater risk of experiencing
psychological distress and, when they do, it is likely to be at higher
levels. Student attendance at face-to-face classes is also gaining
traction as a research area, but there is a dearth of robust empirical
data in this area. Moreover, the relationship between attendance
and wellbeing is underexplored. This article seeks to address this
gap in the literature.
We recently undertook a large empirical, mixed method study at
our university, involving a survey of law students, a manual count
of student attendance, and student focus groups. While the primary
purpose of the study was to better understand motivations for student
attendance or non-attendance, using a constructivist methodology,
we extracted a wealth of qualitative data that gave additional insights
into both student wellbeing and the attendance–wellbeing nexus.
In this article, we present these fndings through the lens of SelfDetermination Theory and its principles of relatedness, autonomy
and competence and in particular explore the tension between
autonomy and relatedness when students do not attend lectures
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)165-185
Number of pages20
JournalMonash University Law Review
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 8 Feb 2020


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