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Academic year: 2022


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A dissertation submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Education

Institute of Education

International Islamic University Malaysia





The need for inculcating character as strength for enabling academic performance and wellness amongst college students has become a major concern among educators worldwide. Thus, this study examines the extent to which character strength of temperance is prevalent amongst undergraduate students of the International Islamic university Malaysia IIUM. As a result, this study discusses the relationship between temperance, students’ academic engagement and their psychological well-being. It uses two-way Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) to hypothesize the relationship.

Prior to SEM, a preliminary analysis of Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA) was conducted. A sample of four hundred undergraduate participants who were randomly selected amongst the higher achievers and under-achievers from six faculties in IIUM was used. The instrument used was a modified Temperance Scale from the Values in Actions Inventory of Strengths (VIA) by Seligman et al. (2004), the Well-being MUNSH scale of Kozma & Stones (1980) and a modified version of a 20-item self- report scale Academic Engagement questionnaire by Mark et al. (2007). The study found that, forgiveness and modesty were the most prevalent character strengths among the respondents in determining academic engagement and psychological well- being. In addition to that, temperance was found to be negatively related to psychological well being with a substantial overall model fit. It was also observed that, students with high Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) were successful in their studies because of forgiveness and humbleness as these have impacts on their psychological well-being. The study also found based on path analysis that, the relationship found between being the students temperate and their well being was statistically significant and practically reasonable. Finally, the study suggests that, additional attention needs to be paid on developing Islamic character strengths among the university students as it was found that, character determines most of the students’

psychological well being. There is also a need for a continuous research to be done from both Islamic and Western point of view using SEM to justify the strength of other 23 classification of values.



ﺚﺤﺒﻟﺍ ﺺﺨﻠﻣ

ﺓﻮﻗ ﻊﺑﺎﻄﻛ ﻖﻠﳋﺍ ﺱﺮﻏ ﺓﺭﻭﺮﻀﻓ ﺔﻴﻗﻼﺧﺃ

ﺕﺎﻌﻣﺎﳉﺍ ﺔﺒﻠﻃ ﲔﺑ ﺔﻴﺴﻔﻨﻟﺍ ﺔﺤﺼﻟﺍﻭ ﻲﳝﺩﺎﻛﻷﺍ ﺀﺍﺩﻸﻟ

، ﱄﺎﺘﻟﺎﺑﻭ ، ﱂﺎﻌﻟﺍ ﺀﺎﳓﺃ ﻊﻴﲨ ﰲ ﲔﻤﻠﻌﳌﺍ ﻁﺎﺳﻭﺃ ﰲ ﻖﻠﻗ ﺭﺪﺼﻣ ﺖﺤﺒﺻﺃ ﺚﺤﺒﺗ ﺔﺳﺍﺭﺪﻟﺍ ﻩﺬﻫ ﹼﻥﺈﻓ

ﺔﻴﳌﺎﻌﻟﺍ ﺔﻴﻣﻼﺳﻹﺍ ﺔﻌﻣﺎﳉﺍ ﺔﺒﻠﻃ ﻯﺪﻟ ﺔﻴﻗﻼﺧﺃ ﺓﻮﻗ ﻊﺑﺎﻄﻛ ﺔﻔﻌﻟﺍ ﺪﺟﺍﻮﺗ ﻯﺪﻣ ﲟ

ﺎﻳﺰﻴﻟﺎ . ﻩﺬﻫ ﺶﻗﺎﻨﺗ

ﺔﺳﺍﺭﺪﻟﺍ ﺎﻀﻳﺃ ﺔﻔﻌﻟﺍ ﺕﺎﻗﻼﻋ ﺑ

ﺭﺎﻃﻹﺍ ﺽﺮﻋ ﻝﻼﺧ ﻦﻣ ﺔﻴﺴﻔﻨﻟﺍ ﻢﻬﺘﺤﺻ ﻊﻣﻭ ﺎﻴﳝﺩﺎﻛﺃ ﺏﻼﻄﻟﺍ ﻡﺎﻤﺘﻫﺎ

ﺕﺎﻗﻼﻌﻟﺍ ﻩﺬﳍ ﻱﺮﻈﻨﻟﺍ ﰎ

ﺔﻴﻠﻜﻴﻫ ﺔﻟﺩﺎﻌﻣ ﺝﺫﻮﳕ ﻡﺍﺪﺨﺘﺳﺍ ﲔﻫﺎﲡﻻﺍ ﻱﺫ

( structural equation

modeling) (SEM)

ﺕﺎﻗﻼﻌﻟﺍ ﻩﺬﻫ ﺔﻴﺿﺍﺮﺘﻓﺎﻛ .

ﻡﺍﺪﺨﺘﺳﺍ ﰎ ﻚﻟﺫ ﻞﺒﻗﻭ ﺪﻛﺆﻣ ﻞﻴﻠﲢ ﻞﻣﺎﻋ


Confirmatory Factor Analysis

( ( CFA )

. ﻦﻣ ﺔﻨﻴﻋ ﺔﺋﺎﻤﻌﺑﺭﺃ ﻦﻣ ﺔﺳﺍﺭﺪﻟﺍ ﻩﺬﻫ ﻒﻟﺄﺘﺗ

ﲔﻗﻮﻔﺘﳌﺍ ﺏﻼﻄﻟﺍ ﲔﺑ ﻦﻣ ﺎﻴﺋﺍﻮﺸﻋ ﻢﻫﺭﺎﻴﺘﺧﺍ ﰎ ﻦﻳﺬﻟﺍ ﲔﻴﻌﻣﺎﳉﺍ ﺏﻼﻄﻟﺍ ﺖﺳ ﻦﻣ ﺔﺟﺭﺩ ﲔﻧﺪﺘﳌﺍﻭ

ﺎﻳﺰﻴﻟﺎﲟ ﺔﻴﳌﺎﻌﻟﺍ ﺔﻴﻣﻼﺳﻹﺍ ﺔﻌﻣﺎﳉﺍ ﺕﺎﻴﻠﻛ .

ﺎﻬﻠﻛ ﺙﻼﺛ ﺕﺎﻧﺎﻴﺒﺘﺳﺍ ﻡﺍﺪﺨﺘﺳﺍ ﰎ ﺪﻗﻭ ﺔﻟﺪﻌﻣ


ﺏ ﺓﺎﻤﺴﳌﺍ ﺃ ﻱﺃ ﻲــﻓ )

ﺓﻮﻘﻟﺍ ﻁﺎﻘﻧ ﺮﺼﺣ ﰲ ﻞﻤﻌﻟﺍ ﻢﻴﻗ ﺔﻴﻗﻼﺧﻷﺍ


Value in Action

Inventory of Strengths

( ﻙﺭﺎﻣ ﰒ ﺎﻣﺯﻮﻛ ﺔﻧﺎﻴﺒﺘﺳﺎﻓ .ﻓ

ﺖﺤﺿﻭﺄ ﻩﺬﻫ ﺞﺋﺎﺘﻧ

ﺔﺳﺍﺭﺪﻟﺍ ﻥﺃ ﻖﻠﺧ

ﲔﺒﻴﺠﺘﺴﳌﺍ ﻑﻮﻔﺻ ﰲ ﺍﺭﺎﺸﺘﻧﺍ ﺮﺜﻛﺃ ﺎﳘ ﻊﺿﺍﻮﺘﻟﺍﻭ ﺔﺣﺎﻤﺴﻟﺍ .

ﻭ ﺎﳍ ﺔﻔﻌﻟﺍ ﹼﻥﺈﻓ ، ﻚﻟﺫ ﱃﺇ ﺔﻓﺎﺿﻹﺎﺑ

ﺔﻴﺴﻔﻨﻟﺍ ﺔﺤﺼﻠﻟ ﺔﺒﺴﻨﻟﺎﺑ ﺓﺮﺷﺎﺒﻣ ﲑﻏ ﺔﻗﻼﻋ .

ﺔﺟﺭﺩ ﻰﻠﻋ ﻥﻮﻠﺼﳛ ﻦﻳﺬﻟﺍ ﺔﺒﻠﻄﻟﺍ ﻥﺃ ﺎﻀﻳﺃ ﻒﺸﻛ ﺍﺬﻫﻭ

ﺮﺜﻛﺃ ﻢﻬﺘﺤﺻ ﻰﻠﻋ ﻥﻭﺰﹼﻛﺮﻳ ﺍﻮﻧﺎﻛ ﻢﻬﺘﺳﺍﺭﺩ ﰲ ﺔﻴﻟﺎﻋ ﻦﻣ

ﳛ ﻦﻳﺬﻟﺍ ﺏﻼﻄﻟﺍ ﺔﻀﻔﺨﻨﻣ ﺔﺟﺭﺩ ﻰﻠﻋ ﻥﻮﻠﺼ

. ﻥﻮﻛ ﱃﺇ ﺔﺳﺍﺭﺪﻟﺍ ﲑﺸﺗ ، ﻚﻟﺫ ﻊﻣﻭ ﺐﻟﺎﻄﻟﺍ

ﻩﺭﺎﻫﺩﺯﺍ ﱃﺇ ﻊﺟﺮﻳ ﺎﻔﻴﻔﻋ ﺎﻴﺤﺻ

. ﺓﺩﻮﺟﻮﳌﺍ ﺔﻗﻼﻌﻟﺎﻓ

ﺎﻴﻠﻤﻋ ﻻﻮﻘﻌﻣﻭ ﺎﻴﺋﺎﺼﺣﺇ ﺔﻤﻬﻣ ﺔﺤﺼﻟﺍﻭ ﺎﻔﻴﻔﻋ ﺐﻟﺎﻄﻟﺍ ﻥﻮﻛ ﲔﺑ .

ﻥﺃ ﱃﺇ ﺔﺳﺍﺭﺪﻟﺍ ﻩﺬﻫ ﲑﺸﺗ ،ﺍﲑﺧﺃﻭ

ﻕﻼﺧﻷﺎﺑ ﻡﺎﻤﺘﻫﻻﺍ ﻦﻣ ﺪﻳﺰﻣ ﱃﺇ ﺔﺳﺎﻣ ﺔﺟﺎﲝ ﲔﻴﻌﻣﺎﳉﺍ ﺔﺒﻠﻄﻟﺍ ﺓﻮﻗ ﻊﺑﺎﻄﻛ ﺔﻴﻣﻼﺳﻹﺍ

ﺔﻴﻗﻼﺧﺃ ﻢﳍ

ﻥﺃ ﺚﺤﺒﻟﺍ ﺡﺮﻃﻭ ، ﺎﻴﺤﺻﻭ ﺎﻴﳝﺩﺎﻛﺃ ﻞﺜﻣ

ﺭﻮﻈﻨﻣ ﲔﺑ ﺝﻭﺩﺰﳌﺍ ﺚﺤﺒﻠﻟ ﺓﺮﻤﺘﺴﻣ ﺔﺟﺎﲝ ﻉﻮﺿﻮﳌﺍ ﺍﺬﻫ

ﻡﺍﺪﺨﺘﺳﺎﺑ ﰊﺮﻏﻭ ﻲﻣﻼﺳﺇ ( SEM )



ﻢﻴﻘﻟﺍ ﻒﻴﻨﺼﺗ ﻦﻣ ﻦﻳﺮﺸﻋﻭ ﺔﺛﻼﺛ





I certify that I have supervised and read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to acceptable standards if scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of Master of Education.


Ssekamanya Siraje Abdallah Supervisor

I certify that I have supervised and read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to acceptable standards if scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of Master of Education.


Sharifah Sariah Examiner

I certify that I have supervised and read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to acceptable standards if scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of Master of Education.


Nik Ahmad Hisham Director,

Institute of Education




I hereby declare that this dissertation is the result of my own investigations, except where otherwise stated. I also declare that it has not been previously or concurrently submitted as a whole for any other degrees at IIUM or other institutions.

Ibrahim Ali

Signature: ………. Date: ……….




Declaration of copyright and affirmation of fair use of unpublished research Copyright @2009 by Ibrahim Ali. All rights reserved.


ACADEMIC ENGAGEMENT AND PSYCHOLOGICAL WELL BEING No part of this unpublished research may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without prior written permission of the copyright holder except as provided below.

1. Any material contained in or derived from this unpublished research may only be used by others in their writing with due acknowledgement.

2. IIUM or its library will have the right to make and transmit copies (print or electronic) for institutional and academic purposes.

3. The IIUM library will have the right to make, store in a retrieval system and supply copies of this unpublished research if requested by other universities and research libraries.

Affirmed by Ibrahim Ali

……… ………

Signature Date



This research is dedicated to my two parents, Ustaadh Ali Ndanusa and Ustaazah Aisha, for their sacrifice, endeavor, ideas on me since I was born to this time. In addition to that, this work is also dedicated to Muslim Ummah as my contribution to

the development of Muslim human capital which is of utmost significance in Islam.




Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Universes, for His blessings, strengths and opportunities that enable me to complete this study. May Allah have peace and blessings upon His Noble messenger Muhammad, his household, companions and those who follow his path to the Day of Judgment.

I would like to express my greatest appreciation and profound gratitude to my major supervisor, Dr. Ssekamanya Siraje Abdallah from whom I learned a lot, who has motivated and inspired me as an academician. I have benefited a lot from his supervision and would like to thank him for his patience and motivation. My appreciation also goes to and my lecturers at INSTED, and Dr. Sharifah Sariah who always helped me with her wise suggestions and corrections. From the committee, I have benefited a lot and they have contributed greatly towards my intellectual aspirations and academic development.

I would like to thank the academic and administrative staff of the Institute of Education, International Islamic University Malaysia for their help and support. A special vote of thanks goes to the three engines of good assistance, CCAC, SLEU and Admission and Record Division of International Islamic University Malaysia, for providing me the necessary data and giving me chance for collecting the appropriate data. Many thanks also go to my study groups and colleagues for their support and help.

Lastly, I would like to express my utmost gratitude to my parents Ustadh Ali Ndanusa, and Ustadzah Aisha Anti Ayi for their constant motivation and support throughout my study. Many thanks also to my wife and children for their patience and understanding toward the success of this work.




Abstract in English ... ii

Abstract in Arabic ... iii

Approval Page ... iv

Declaration Page ... v

Copyright Page ... vi

Dedication ... vii

Acknowledgement ... viii

List of Tables ... xi

List of Figures ... xii


Background of the Study ... 1

Statement of the Problem ... 7

Purpose of the study ... 10

Research Questions ... 11

Research Hypotheses ... 11

Significance of the Study ... 11

Limitation of Study ... 12

Definition of Terms ... 12

Organization of the study ... 13


Introduction ... 15

Character strengths ... 15

Islamic perspectives on significance of virtuous character ... 15

Western perspectives on significance of character strengths ... 19

Character strengths of Temperance ... 24

Forgiveness, psychological well being and academic engagement ... 24

Modesty/Humility, Psychological wellness and Academic Engagement ... 26

Self-control, Psychological wellness and Academic Engagement ... 26

Prudence, Psychological well-being and Academic Performance ... 27

Character, Students’engagement and Psychological well-being ... 27

Islamic perspective on the Character Strength of Temperance, Psychological well-being and Academic achievement ... 28

Other Perspectives on Temperance ... 32

Self control, Wellness and Engagement ... 35

Prudence, Well-being and Academic Engagement ... 37

Humility/Modesty, Well-being and Engagement ... 38

Forgiveness, Subjective Well-being and Engagement ... 38



Relationship between well-being and academic engagement ... 40

Theoretical Framework ... 42


Introduction ... 44

Research Design ... 46

Research Site ... 46

Ethical issues ... 46

Population and Sample ... 47

Target Population ... 47

Method for determining the sample size ... 48

Instrumentation ... 50

Procedure for Data collection ... 53


Introduction ... 56

Section 1: Descriptive Analyses ... 56

Data screening ... 58

Section 2: Validating the measurement model ... 60

Validating the measurement model of temperance ... 60

Validating the measurement model of engagement ... 61

Validating the measurement model of psychological well-being ... 63

Section 3: Estimating the full fledged SEM ... 64

Chapter Summary ... 70


Introduction ... 72

Discussions ... 72

Validating the measurement model (CFA) ... 72

Identifying the structural equation model of the three constructs ... 72

Answering the research questions ... 73

Answering the research hypotheses ... 74

Implication of the study ... 76

Recommendations of the study ... 77

Conclusion of the study ... 77



Appendix I: Research Instrument ... 84

Appendix II: Approval Letter from INSTEAD ... 61

Appendix III: Figures ... 92




TableNo. Page No.

3.1 Flow of research design and data analysis procedures 45 3.2 Number and percentage of participants in the study 50

3.3 Summary of Data procedures 55

4.1 Breakdown of samples based on gender 57

4.2 Distribution of variables for measurement model 59 4.3 Goodness of model fit for measuring CFA for temperance 61 4.4 Loadings for temperance 61 4.5 Goodness of model fit for measuring CFA for engagement 62

4.6 Factor loadings for engagement 62

4.7 Goodness of model fit for measuring CFA for psychological

well being 64

4.8 Factor loadings for well being 64

4.9 Goodness of fit measures for the proposed and re-specified model

66 4.10 Goodness of fit measures for the Re-specified model 68 4.11 Maximum likelihood parameter estimates of the standardized

factor loadings





Figure No. Page No.

2.1 IQ A graph of how self control outperforms 36

2.2 An Hypothesized theoretical framework 42

3.1 Procedure for Approval 48

4.1 Descriptive Chart of age variable 57

4.2 Validating the Measurement model of temperance 60 4.3 Validating the Measurement model of engagement 62 4.4 Validating the Measurement model of well being 63

4.5 The unaccepted Proposed model 67

4.6 The accepted Re-specified model estimates 69





Literally, engagement generally is one’s involvement with an on-going task in an attempt to understand it (Oxford Advanced learner’s Dictionary, 2000). In this context, students’ academic engagement connotes a large meaning; a well known definition according to the state of Queensland Department of Training and Arts (2004) is, “the students’ involvement, attentiveness to doing assigned school work, showing enthusiasm for this work by taking initiative to raise questions, and contributing to group activities and assist the peers”.

Also, there is another perspective to what “well-being” means. According to Ed Diener (1997) well-being refers to how people evaluate their lives. Evaluation, in this sense may be in form of cognition: for example, when someone consciously judges about his/her satisfaction with life. It may also be in a form of effect, when a person experiences pleasant or unpleasant emotions or moods in reaction to his/her life as a whole.

The concern of governments nowadays all over the world is the provision of the best education for at least 6.7 billion people from the total of 9 billion people sharing the same planet. This concern for the best education had been felt globally since nineties unto this present time. The inaugural professorial lecture, on March 2005 delivered by Professor Roger Brown, principal, Southampton Institute stressed the government policies on higher education as this contributes to the economic and social well-being of the nation for students in diverse level, mainly, the university


2 students according to the report.

As leaders of tomorrow, these two domains of life (education and social well- being) are of great importance to students, being the leaders of tomorrow and developers of the world for having high quality and achieving the great educational treasury which every human society is demanding everyday and night.

The need for quality education is not limited to Europe and America only, rather it has been a global trend. In Pakistan for example, vocational education courses are being provided for university students to enhance their learning and as well as motivating them to be psychologically healthy. The role of Malaysian government in promoting information technology (IT), multimedia and e-learning strategies in universities are outstanding evidences that proof the significance of university students’ academic engagement and their well-being. Another example for the urgent need of character to flourish students’ academic achievement is the immediate concerns related to the ever increasing accountability requirements made by the American states and federal government. This is as quoted below:

For much of the last decade, the focus on values has been primarily on the micro ethics that guide individual behavior, the private virtues that build character. I want to argue that the recent turn to ethics in our public schools, in American higher education, and in public life must now include the macroethics of large systems and institutions, the public values that build community (Joseph, 2002, p. 6).

Every country of the world is striving to promote policy that shows students’

academic readiness in order to excel in the global competitive market. This basically rests on investing on education more than anything else. However, students could not engage academically if they are not psychologically well and not possessing good moral values. They need to be in good condition with life, so that the government expectation could be achieved and met in the global competitive market.



The economist intelligence posits that Malaysian government has not been idle in terms of investing in education, especially the development of k-economy for the betterment of university students’ academic engagement and psychological well-being (Puteh, Marlia, Hussin and Supyan, 2007). This is due to the importance of students engaging academically and their well-being will be of no use if the third domain of student need is not satisfied. That is, the character aspect of their development.

Although the government, the people (teachers), and institutions have made a great effort in this respect, but, the matter has not been successfully treated. Presently, the government is spending every effort to curb a crisis in character building of the youth.

Similarly, character has been variously defined. In most cases, it has been conceived as a window into personality, a constellation of attitudes, values, ethical considerations, and behavioral patterns that represent what people believe and value, how they think, and what they do (Kuh & Umbach, 2003). When it is implied that someone has “character,” it means he/she exhibits admirable traits in both intellectual and behavioral dimensions in accordance with values and beliefs of the society.

In this light, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) declared that his mission was to perfect good characters. For eleven years, he worked hard - with Divine guidance- to perfect the morals of Arabs. He transformed them from being savages in Jahiliyyah to the best models in human character. He was known as trustworthy, honest, and wise among a number of other good characters for which he was nicknamed al-Amin. The holy Quran also confirms this that “You (Muhammad) are of the best characters” (surah 68:5).

As a result, his disciples –who had internalized his model character- a few years after his death conquered the world, liberated its civilization from being ignorant, and put it on a new path of learning and development.



Islam spread far and wide because of this meritorious character. The ancient Muslims spread the message of Islam through showing humanity an example of an excellent human behaviour. This mission was practiced by some companions and their followers based on the sayings of the Prophet (peace be upon him) that “You will never make people pleased with your money, but you will win their hearts with a smiling face and good manners” (Ibn Al-Hakam).

History repeats by itself. Looking to Islamic civilization, it could be seen that Islam has flourished by values in contrary to the view which argues that it spreads by sword and bloodshed. For example, the way Islam spread in the vast areas in Asia, Europe and Africa was basically through the excellence of Islamic akhlaaq (good manners and ethical morality) (Auda, 2006).

The reverse is the case nowadays. The world today is facing a crisis, all countries-both Muslims and Non Muslims- are facing challenges of immorality among their citizens, especially the youth. Educational institutions are charged with the task of moulding the character of the youth, hoping that they will become good leaders of tomorrow. Among the institutions which are working hard to promote good character is the International Islamic University Malaysia. Recognizing the centrality of character in the development of a nation, IIUM boldly put its aspiration in its motto to as a “Garden of knowledge and virtue”. Good outcomes and well-being of students need to be ultimately furnished with good character outcomes for producing a sound educated individual who will be useful for himself/herself, others and the nation according to Islamic point of view.

Furthermore, schools and government agencies need to realize that if students do not have good character that can determine their learning outcomes. The learning will suffer and the students will become depressed. Therefore, the need for character



building to enhance students’ academic engagement and wellness, result in students’

psychological healthiness and commitment to learning.

A number of studies have been conducted about the character trait as being significant to individual trait and personality. However, among these studies, only few have discussed the direct or indirect impact of characters to students’ engagement and their well-being in the educational setting. Or to put it in another way, researchers have not until now given attention to the contribution of character to University students’ academic engagement, well-being and the relationship between character and students’ engagement and well-being.

Furthermore, a review of related works shows that, there are limited research works that discuss the importance of character strength as a contributor to university students’ academic engagement and their psychological well-being. Institutions are only concentrating on filling the mind of students with learning. However, teaching students about morals only will be ineffective if the character is not part of what the university students should have or develop.

Sandage and Hill (2001) acknowledge that the concept of virtue has not been adequately researched in the modern social sciences, due to the fact that, the most of researches in social sciences should be basically inherent in morals and values.

Based upon the available researches, it is possible to say that ethical values have not been effectively taught and applied to education. Justifying this stance, is the injustice, wars, crime, drugs, corruption, illegal businesses, absence of fairness and trust, as well as the lack of peace that permeate worldwide (Gadner, 1990 &

Mercader, 2006). Mercader (2006) found that college students’ ethical values have not been sufficiently considered and measured even when codes of ethics exist in most colleges and universities, with regard to some efforts made at the beginning of the 20th



century which focuses attention on the relevance of ethics and values due to the erosion of a variety of societal standards and an integrity problem.

The educators amongst themselves agree that the topic of ethics in education is a critical need for students and society; yet, it remains in research, a philosophical, sociological, political, and psychological argument (Bennett, 1992; Gadner, 1990;

Greene, 1978; Lickona, 1991; Rodriguez, 1996).

On one side, Muslim intellectuals stood at once to study the roots of the problems with character, the decay in values and moral decadences among Muslim youth. Scholars like Shakib Arslan exercised a great effort to find an appropriate antidote to address these immoralities. His painstaking efforts were acknowledged but did not heal the wound.

On the other hand, according to the report of a major scientific survey commissioned by CMI, the media assault on American values reveals that media messages appear to be undermining the pillars of America’s cultural edifice: strength of character, sexual morality and respect for God. The report revealed, according to heavy television viewers (four hours or more per evening) that, they are less committed to character virtues such as honesty, charity, permissive about sex, abortion and homosexuality as a lack of self-control a sub-strength of temperance.

Also, according to George Kuh (2004), the overall 74 percent of Americans have said that their moral values are weaker than they were 20 years ago, and 48 percent of then believe their values are much weaker. Even as American higher education became more secular in orientation and practice, most institutions continue to include amongst their educational purposes the importance of providing students with the opportunity to discover, refine, and test their character.



Additionally, in returning to the psychology, the psychologists are only concerned with the study and treatment of sickness, disorder, and other assorted agonies of human existence (Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi, 2000). Although, this focus is crucial to understanding mental disease, advancing treatment and developing consensual classification systems such as the DSM, but it led to the neglect of study of virtue, happiness and fulfillment of human needs. Studying character strength like temperance and its subdivision category; forgiveness, modesty, prudence and self- control as in VIA- IS (Values in Action inventory of strength) is not at all present in the researchers’ work.

Educators and laypersons are now in agreement that instilling strong moral values in youth is of utmost importance, and that one of the pathways of doing that is through schools. Is character really for University students? Does it contribute to their academic engagement and their well-being? To strictly confirm this, there is need for a research which will empirically study this issue.


After most efforts that have been taken by the education policy makers to redress decay in character for the best, the reverse has been the case. There are lots of information reported every day about the deficiency of student academic engagement, well-being and character all over the world. Above all, what should be done? Should the government, teachers, and institutions fold hands? If this situation persists, government, teachers and learning institutions can not be contented with their outcomes. This situation calls for conducting a thorough research.

There are still inadequate studies carried out in this aspect that emphasize the behavior that shapes or correlates with students’ positive engagement and wellness for



curbing and finding a resolution to these unpleasant, prickly outlooks, particularly among the University students. The scenario continues to exist day after the other.

A large number of instruments have been developed by various researchers to study the causes of moral decadence among the youth, psychic trauma and the predicament the collegiate students face during their collegiate life. The examples of these instruments are Corporate Character Ethical Values Matrix (CC-EVM) by Edward Daniel (1997), and Martin Seligman et al. (2004), Values in Actions Inventory of Strengths (VIA-IS) which are so far the most comprehensive instruments available. They are developed from a positive psychological perspective and the Values in Action Inventory for Youth (VIA-YOUTH) a self-report questionnaire measuring 24 widely valued strength of character by Investigators at the University of Rhode Island (2007). Despite, the effective function of these instruments in their various applied settings of studies, the issue of character decadence still occur, which prompts a research-based-research study of this current researcher’s work.

Many programs have been put in place in different parts of the world to enhance the character of youth. In USA, there are programs like; Youth Development programs, Nation of character Service. The question which repeatedly poses itself is

“do these programs really work?”.

A daily report explains that students are exposed to an alarming amount of violence, through television, video games, in sports and on the newsflash. At the same time, parental supervision has reduced due to work pressures. The only hope remaining is the school, especially the higher institutions. However, it is saddening that he institutions where parents put their hope have also become incapable of making the students good leaders of tomorrow.



The rapid decline in the morality of the youth becomes manifest along with the increase in violence, drug abuse, promiscuity in colleges and institutions. Educators, once again have recognized the need for a return to the principles of character.

Baumeister (1994) has concluded that many problems students face in the world today mainly arise from character failure contributing to their low achievement in schools. This shows that, much research works still needed to be conducted on character, particularly, on the issue of temperance as a strong strength in the field of positive psychology.

More often than not, there are news reports of acts of a multitude of anti-social behaviours showing up in schools around the world. The question arises that: does this behaviour has anything to do with the apparent lack of character and its positive effect on engagement and academic success by many students in school or not?

The study and review of literature have shown the lack of meritorious character among the students since workload has appropriated most of the parents’ time and also the schools have not been able to produce expected characters that may lead to students’ positive engagement and well-being. The lack of character sometimes leads students to exhibit unwanted behavior inside and outside the school premises (Kuh &

Umbach, 2004).

In an attempt to change the scenario, this study proposes that character could be the key element to the situation. The study suggests that if students are well equipped with good character, it will help them with their academic engagement as well as with their well-being. Why is temperance focused? It is focused because it is directly connected to students’ academic engagement and related to their well-being according to relevant literature reviewed. The hypothesis is that, having good character will discourage college students from engaging in risky behaviors and



disallow them from social ills such as taking drugs, illicit sex etc.


The purpose of this study is to analyze the extent to which the character strength of temperance is prevalent amongst the university students in order to find out the nature of its relationship with students’ academic engagement and their psychological well- being.

This study proposes two major domains in looking to this research. These domains are:

In the first instance, this research attempts to analyze the extent to which the character strength of temperance is prevalent among students of International Islamic University Malaysia. This aspect is worth studying because of the position of International Islamic University Malaysia among other institutions in Malaysia and in the world. This is so as good character is recognized as the willpower in developing the nation through the means of educated and virtuous students.

Secondly, this study attempts to explore the relationship between character strength of temperance and the students’ engagement and psychological well-being.

This aspect is also worth studying because of the inadequacy of studies conducted in this area. According to the reviewed literature related to this study, Martin Seligman et al., (2004) for example mentioned in his book “character strengths and virtues” that, the focus of psychology has been dominated by the study of human sickness, mental diseases, and other assorted agonies of human existence, little has been mentioned about human wellness, life satisfaction and happiness.

Finally, in order to fulfill the purpose of this study, the following research questions were designed.



1. What is the nature of the relationship between temperance and academic engagement among IIUM students?

2. What is the relationship between temperance and well-being among IIUM students?


There is a relationship between temperance and academic engagement among IIUM students. (H1: T–A ≠ 0)

There is a relationship between temperance and well-being among IIUM students.

(H2: T–W ≠ 0)

T, A and W here, represent Temperance, Academic Engagement and Well-being respectively.


This study will be important for individuals who will be involved in shaping the characters of the present and future generations. This is because it is the responsibility of everyone to ensure that young people develop qualities of self-control, forgiveness, modesty and prudence so that they can be developed to contribute positively to the society.

Since character is verified to be cross- cultural norm, and government policy is focused on students’ learning and their well-being. This study will be of great benefit to Muslim and Non-Muslim policy makers, educators, students, and International Islamic University Malaysia as an Institution in relation to its adopted principle of

“good manners and ethical values”.



Based on the literature review, no study has been conducted on the relationship between character, engagement and well-being. This study would be a significant contribution to the field of education as it will break new grounds.

From the above, the need and importance of a study related to ethical values of college students can never be overemphasized as it will help educators and others acquire know more knowledge about ethical values and their influences on the education, work, and life of college students.


The scope of this study was limited to character strength of Temperance amongst 24 classifications of character strengths, in relation to students’ engagement and psychological well-being. Furthermore, this research involved only the IIUM undergraduate students.


The key terms that are operationally defined according to the research are:

Character strengths: according to Seligman (2004), character strengths are the

psychological ingredients–processes or mechanisms-that define virtues. These character strengths are categorized into 24 Inventory of Strengths. In this study only one domain of these inventories has been used which was the temperance scale of VIA-IS (Values in Action Inventory of Strength).

Temperance: is defined as “everything in moderation” or the virtue of control over

excess (Seligman, 2004). It has four dimensions which are forgiveness/mercy, humility/modesty, prudence and self control/self regulation. In this study, temperance is also measured as the same construct of character strengths by temperance scale of



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