Academic Help-Seeking and Achievement of Postsecondary Students: A Meta-Analytic Investigation




Fong, Carlton J.
Gonzales, Cassandra
Hill-Troglin Cox, Christie

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American Psychological Association


Nearly all college students require some academic assistance throughout their learning experiences. Rather than a dependent act, help-seeking is a self-regulated and motivated strategy; however, there are mixed findings regarding the relationship between academic help-seeking and academic achievement. Thus, the current study used meta-analytic techniques to assess the relationship between academic help-seeking variables and achievement (GPA, grades, test scores) among postsecondary students in 108 studies (119 samples, N = 37,941). Findings revealed a positive association between self-reported, need-contingent help-seeking behaviors and student achievement; the average weighted correlation was very small but potentially meaningful in the long run. Furthermore, the quality of help-seeking mattered, revealing small to moderate associations of greater consequence. Specifically, and executive help-seeking were negatively correlated to achievement; instrumental help-seeking along with formal help-seeking was positively correlated with academic performance. Moreover, a few factors significantly moderated the relationship between help-seeking and achievement. Implications for research and practice will be discussed.



help-seeking, academic achievement, college students, postsecondary, meta-analysis


Fong, C. J., Gonzales, C., & Hill-Troglin Cox, C. (2023). Academic help-seeking and achievement of postsecondary students: A meta-analytic investigation. Journal of Educational Psychology, 115(1), pp. 1-21.


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