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Revista de la Facultad de Medicina Humana

versión impresa ISSN 1814-5469versión On-line ISSN 2308-0531

Rev. Fac. Med. Hum. vol.20 no.2 Lima abr./jun 2020 

Original article

Will for the study and academic work in students of a private university of Lima

Héctor Hugo Sánchez-Carlessi1 

Elio Iván Rodríguez-Chávez1 

Patricia Roxana Matos-Ramírez1 

1Ricardo Palma University, Lima-Peru.



Willingness to learn is an important study variable for any educational institution, since it is consistent with institutional policy of improving quality to the provided educational services.


The main objective is to identify and compare the different levels of Willingness to Learn, considering the gender and different academic programs or careers, among the students of a private university.


Descriptive and comparative study, through the administration of the Willingness to Learn Scale, in a sample of 762 male and female university students of Medical School, Psychology, Law, Civil Engineering, Administration and Management School (IVth, Vth and VIth academic semester).


We found significant differences considering gender; women show better or higher levels of Willingness to Learn , compared to men. Students of Engineering program showed a lower level of Willingness to Learn.


We found significant differences among levels of Willingness to Learn ,considering gender and academic program or career.

Keywords: to learn; academic work (source: MeSH NLM).


The will to study is a psychological construct that has become an area of research interest, given the diversity of distracting stimuli that can interfere in the academic life of a university student, as are the current technological means, which are within the reach of all1,2.

The will is a human capacity closely linked to conscience and motivation3. It is a cognitiveaffective state of disposition, related to interests, desires, motivations, decision-making capacity, and autonomy in the regulation of a person's performance to achieve something4,5.

Every human capacity is a state of readiness or potential to successfully perform an activity6. Will, as a psychological capacity, is linked to desire, interest, and intrinsic motivation and strength of self, which allows a person to be persistent and tenacious in achieving a goal or meta7-9. It is the ability to decide freely, and to make a conscious choice about what the person wants, wants to be and do10.

The will is one of the basic dimensions of human behavior: it corresponds to the volitional dimension, which involves human consciousness, rationality, thought, and affective traits linked to character and motivation3,11.

These are indicators of will as a human capacity: the desire or interest to want to do something that attracts you, the positive attitude to want to achieve something, the strength of the self or strength of character, clear and defined decision-making, intrinsic and/or extrinsic motivation and tenacity or perseverance12.

In a study on the psychological construct of will13in which a one-dimensional scale of will to work was developed, using a 21-item questionnaire applied to 1141 second-year psychology students at the University of Buenos Aires, it was found that the will to work was characterized as the attitude by which a person focuses on his/her duties, performing it with responsibility, precision, self-motivation and without delay, even though such obligations may be unpleasant; Likewise, in the research entitled “Delimitación del Constructo Voluntad de Trabajo”, aimed at the construction of an ad hoc scale. They considered that "the will to work was characterized as the attitude by which an individual turns to his duties with responsibility, efficiency, self-motivation and without delay".

This study aims to make a descriptive diagnosis of willingness to study in students of a private university in Lima considering professional career and gender.


Study design

Descriptive research with a descriptive-comparative design, for which a scale to assess the willingness to study and academic work has been applied to samples of students in the fourth, fifth and sixth academic semesters, from different professional careers, and of both genders.

Population and sample

The target population was made up of all the students of the Ricardo Palma University in Lima, which in the year 2019-I comprised a population of 12.160 students.

The real or accessible population, see table 1, was made up of 2412 students from the IV, V and VI academic semesters of the professional careers of: architecture, civil engineering, administration and management, translation, human medicine, psychology, biology, law.


The scale of will for study.

It evaluates 6 indicators (the desire or interest and attitude to study, the strength of the self or firm character, clear and defined decision-making, intrinsic and/or extrinsic motivation, perseverance and tenacity and no postponement of decided actions), through 24 items or items, whose score is 1, 2 and 3 points according to the following: 1= never; 2 = sometimes; And 3 = always; The maximum score to expect was 72 and the minimum was 24.

The application time, with the informed consent of the student, was 15 minutes maximum.

Statistical analysis

For data processing the following statistics were chosen: to obtain validity: the KMO and Bartlett test; to obtain reliability: Cronbach's alpha; for the normality curve: the Kolmogorov-Smirnov test; for descriptive statistics of students by professional career: arithmetic mean, median, standard deviation, variance, range; for inferential statistics comparing gender, professional career and academic semesters: student's T test and analysis of variance.


From the total of participants in the study, we found that the average was 21.71 years, with a predominance of females with 53.81% of the sample. The other characteristics are shown intable 2.

When we obtained the results of the will scale scores for the study by sex, we found that in men the mean was 56.02 and in women the mean was 58.45. The comparison of scores according to the other factors evaluated is shown intable 3.

The results of the Bonferroni post hoc test show that students aged 26 and over scored higher than those aged 20 and 25 (Table 4).

The score on the willingness scale for study according to professional career and academic semester is shown intable 5.

Table 1.  Real or accessible population data, Ricardo Palma University 

Careers Semester Total
Architecture 166 218 179 563
Civil engineering 230 182 163 575
Administration and management 70 85 40 195
Translation and interpretation 72 66 46 184
Human medicine 174 153 205 532
Psychology 66 66 47 179
Biology 26 36 22 84
Law 34 45 21 100
Total 2412

Table 2.  General characteristics of students evaluated by sex, career and semester. 

Mean Standard deviation
21,71 3,99
Age Frequency Percentage
Male Female 352 410 46,19% 53,81%
Administration Architecture Biology Law Engineering Human medicine Psychology Translation 120 125 60 75 65 150 117 50 15,75% 16,40% 7,87% 9,84% 8,53% 19,69% 15,35% 6,56%
Cycle IV Cycle V Cycle VI 277 292 193 36,35% 38,32% 25,33%

Table 3.  Table showing the mean and standard deviation of the will scale score for the study by sex, semester and age. 

Mean p
Male Female 56,02 +/- 8,19 58,45 +/- 7,47 <0,001*
IV V VI 56,41 +/- 8,32 57,80 +/- 7,87 57,90 +/- 7,22 0,058†
Age (years)
From 17 to 19 From 20 to 21 From 22 to 25 From 26 and more 57,78 ± 7,93 56,68 ± 8,06 56,65 ± 7,47 59,25 ± 8,04 0,023†

* Student's T test / † ANOVA.

Table 4.  Bonferroni post hoc test of the ANOVA of the will scale according to age. 

17 to 19 years 20 to 21 years 22 to 25 years
20 to 21 years 0,826
22 to 25 years 0,802 >0,999
26 years and more 0,736 0,045 0,045

Table 5.  Table showing the mean and standard deviation of the score obtained for each race according to the cycle. 

Careers Cycle IV Cycle V Cycle VI Consolidation of the Cycles
Mean p* Mean p* Mean p* Mean p*
Administration 56,48 ± 7,91 58,78 ± 7,76 58,16 ± 7,72 57,66 ± 7,81
Biology 56,53 ± 8,90 56,35 ± 9,06 56,13 ± 7,15 56,38 ± 8,37
Architecture 56,48 ± 7,91 59,06 ± 8,06   58,08 ± 7,34 57,84 ± 7,89
Engineering 52,13 ± 9,61 0,251 53,94 ± 6,54 0,044 58 ± 7,27 0,858 53,92 ± 7,98 0,0223
Translation and Interpretation 57,56 ± 9,22 60,25 ± 6,84 58,56 ± 7,26 58,74 ± 7,83
Human Medicine 57,68 ± 6,73 56,65 ± 8,29 58,22 ± 7,71 57,50 ± 7,59
Psycology 55,33 ± 8,60 59 ± 7,99 58,67 ± 6,84 58,02 ± 7,94
Law 57,96 ± 9,36 57,52 ± 7,02 55,46 ± 5,96 57,27 ± 7,69


The results of the Bonferroni post hoc test of the ANOVA score of the will scale for the study according to professional career, shows that all differences found between groups correspond to the score of the civil engineering career compared to the other careers. Which corresponds to 0.057; 0.032; > 0.999; 0.341; 0.061; 0.022 and 0.032; for the careers of administration, architecture, biology, law, human medicine, psychology and translation and interpretation respectively. The remaining comparisons between groups showed no statistically significant differences (p> 0.999).


Regarding the results considering the variables gender, age, and study careers it has been found that, in relation to gender, it has been evidenced through the statistical tests conducted that female students obtain higher levels of willingness to study than men. These findings show that women are better able to handle most aspects of academic practice. As evidenced by a study of 186 nursing students that despite not finding significant differences between the sexes with respect to the variables studied highlights the ability of women in their management of external influences during their study15. However, Azañon et al. evaluated 979 Spanish university students and found that males had greater ability to control negative situations, feelings and thoughts16.

Regarding age, the results obtained have allowed us to find greater differences between younger and older students. Along these lines, Acevedo et al found in a group of Colombian students that the average age for dropping out of university was 22.1 years17. In addition, engineering students from a university in Bogotá, Colombia demonstrated that they have less ability to handle stress or pressure situations when they are younger, which may lead some to abandon their careers18.

In relation to the academic semesters, the results have also not demonstrated any significant differences on willingness to study among students of IV, V and VI academic semesters, while according to the professional career of studies were found that students of civil engineering in IV semester have less willingness to study than the rest of the students of different professional careers. This problem among engineering students has always been a difficulty due to the complexity of the subjects taught in relation to other careers19. However, the use of academic and psychological strategies may represent a choice among these students. This statement was confirmed by Rodriguez Pascual and Martinez Rosillo among engineering students through a group couching course that effectively impacts the academic development of these students as well as their psychological development20.

On the other hand, students of human medicine and translation and interpretation are more willing to study. In the V semester, students of civil engineering show less willingness to study in changes. Those of architecture, psychology and translation and interpretation show greater willingness to study. In the VI academic semester, there were no significant differences between students of different professional careers.


We conclude that female students have higher levels of willingness to study than men in the university student population of Lima. Also, civil engineering students had lower scores on the willingness scale for study compared to other majors.


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Financing: Self-financed.

Received: February 19, 2020; Accepted: March 30, 2020

Correspondence: Hector Hugo Sanchez Carlessi Address: Vicerrectorado de Investigación, Universidad Ricardo Palma, Avenida Benavides 5440, Santiago de Surco, Lima-Perú. Telephone: +51 999 732 421

Authorship contributions: The authors participated in the genesis of the idea, project design, data collection and interpretation, analysis of results and preparation of the manuscript of the present research work.

Conflict of interest: The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest in the publication of this article.

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