Investigating protective factors in young people enrolled on undergraduate programmes in Indonesia

  • Venny Karolina

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Education


Young people enrolled on undergraduate programmes in Indonesia might face multiple stressors during their course. Besides facing common stressors like other undergraduates, the Indonesians might experience other additional stressors, such as lack of internet connection (The Jakarta Post, 2020), unstable electricity and low finance capabilities that might negatively affect their study performance and mental health. Moreover, the Covid-19 outbreak where many Indonesians lost jobs might cause more challenges for Indonesian undergraduate students. They might experience fewer facilities than before the outbreak as their parents or guardians lost their jobs and consequently could not afford them during the undergraduate program. The condition might get worse in economically disadvantaged provinces. West Kalimantan is one of the underdeveloped provinces with low income and low levels of human resources (Kurniawan, de Groot & Mulder, 2019). The students might face more stressors compared to other undergraduates in other Indonesian provinces with more resources. There might be protective factors mitigating stressors during their undergraduate programs. Protective factors are the capacity of individuals and their environment to reduce the effect of risk on the outcome (Rutter, 1999). Ungar (2011) introduced a socio-demographic approach to understanding protective factors. The researcher suggested that culture and context might contribute to individuals’ protective factors. Individuals’ protective factors might relate to their socio-demographic backgrounds. Certain socio-demographic characteristics might have specific values in certain societies. This might create differences for people on their perception of their protective factors. There was a lack of empirical research about protective factors using the socio-demographic approach in West Kalimantan. Therefore, this study adopted the approach to understanding differences in perceived protective factors of young people enrolled on the undergraduate programs in West Kalimantan. This researcher specifically had research questions related to whether young undergraduate students in West Kalimantan differed in their protective factors by their gender (male and female), socio-economic status (low and middle/high SES) and geographical area (city of province and rural area). This study also probed the association between resilience and academic achievement. The researcher used the Scale of Protective Factors (Ponce-Garcia, Madewell, and Kennison, 2015) to assess protective factors based on individual and social dimensions. The cohort sample group of this study was undergraduate students in West Kalimantan registered in the academic year of 2020 (PPDIKTI, 2020) by the Indonesian Ministry of Education (n=98,225, n= 47,964 (49%) for males and n= 50,291 (51%) for females). The socio-demographic characteristics of the sample of the study consisted of 250 females (50%) and 250 males (50%), 241 (48.20%) participants from a provincial city and 259 (51.80%) participants from rural areas, and 265 (53%) and 235 (47%) participants from low SES and middle/high SES background respectively. The repeated Mann- Whitney U-Tests results showed that male Indonesian undergraduate students exhibited more protective factors for resilience than females (U=26535, p<.01, η2=.01). Rural Indonesian undergraduate students had significantly higher total scores for protective factors than provincial city students (U=27820.50, p=.03, η2=.00). Moreover, the total scores for protective factors for resilience between the low-SES and the middle/high-SES group were not statistically significantly different (U=29184, p=.22, η2=.00). The Spearman’s rho correlation test suggested a significant negative correlation between total scores for protective factors for resilience and students’ academic achievement (rs(500)=-.11, p<.00), but the value of correlation was weak (rs=-.11). This study contributed to understanding the differences in protective factors among undergraduate students in Indonesia by their socio-demographic factors. The information might support universities, lecturers and educational practices in developing programmes or interventions that nurtured protective factors among Indonesian undergraduate learners and focused attention on specific groups that reported fewer protective factors.
Date of AwardJul 2022
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Queen's University Belfast
SponsorsIndonesia Endowment Fund for Education (Lembaga Pengelola Dana Pendidikan/LPDP)
SupervisorAisling O'Boyle (Supervisor) & Tess Maginess (Supervisor)


  • Protective factors
  • resilience
  • undergraduate students
  • stressors

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