Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor's Name

Thomas G. Reio, Jr.

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Marilyn Montgomery

Third Advisor's Name

Laura Dinehart

Fourth Advisor's Name

Joanne Sanders-Reio


Philosophy of Education, Self-Actualization, Metacognition, Well-Being, Eudaimonia, Need-Satisfaction, Coping, Psychological Defense

Date of Defense



This non-experimental, correlational study (N = 513) examined the relationships among self-actualization, well-being, and metacognition. Need-satisfaction and non-defensiveness were also tested as mediators in the relationship between metacognition and self-actualization. A battery of paper-and-pencil self-report measures was administered to a sample of undergraduate and graduate students in a public university in South Florida. Correlational and hierarchical regression analyses and structural equation modeling for mediational analysis were used to test the hypotheses.

The results largely supported the hypotheses with only a few exceptions. Students who demonstrated higher level of self-actualization experienced higher well-being as well (the result of this hypothesized relationship was equivocal for parent students, n = 61). Moreover, need-satisfaction and non-defensiveness were found to be significantly and positively associated with self-actualization, providing preliminary supporting evidence for Maslow’s (1968) and Rogers’ (1951, 1961) theories of self-actualization. In addition, students with higher levels of general metacognitive competence were more likely to demonstrate higher level of need-satisfaction, non-defensiveness, self-actualization, and well-being (the result of the third hypothesized relationship was equivocal for female immigrant education students, n = 78).

Further, metacognition and need-satisfaction, and metacognition and non-defensiveness shared common variance in predicting self-actualization. The relationship between metacognition and self-actualization was mediated by need-satisfaction and non-defensiveness, except for non-education students (n = 201), for whom no mediational effect was detected by non-defensiveness.

In sum, the findings imply that general metacognitive competence, which can be taught as a set of skills, theoretically contributes to students’ self-actualization and well-being. This study provides support for a conceptual model of self-actualization, which introduces this phenomenon as a goal-oriented process that is essential to students’ well-being and can be attained by exercising metacognition. The discussion of the findings highlights implications of this study for theory, research, and practice as a guide for scholars, researchers, and practitioners in the field of education and psychology.





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