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Belonging: Literature

It is important for students to have a sense of belonging at university. Research shows that belonging is associated with higher levels of:

  • Academic motivation (1)
  • Engagement (2)
  • Retention (3,1)
  • Success (4)
  • Wellbeing (1,2,5)

Explore this selection of literature to find out more about these associations with belonging. (Please revisit this page as we will continue to add links to the literature.)


  1. Suhlmann, M., Sassenberg, K., Nagengast, B., and Trautwein, U. (2018). Belonging mediates effect of student-university fit on well-being, motivation and drop out intention. Social Psychology, 49(1):16-28
  2. Gopalan, M. and Brady, S.T. (2019). College students’ sense of belonging: A national perspective. Educational researcher, 49(2):134-137
  3. Hausmann, L. R. M., Schofield, J. W., & Woods, R. L. (2007). Sense of belonging as a predictor of intentions to persist among African American and White first-year college students. Research in Higher Education, 48(7), 803–839.
  4. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine . (2017). Supporting students’ college success: The role of assessment of intrapersonal and interpersonal competencies. National Academies Press.
  5. Baumeister, R. F., Leary, M. R. (1995). The need to belong: Desire for interpersonal attachments as a fundamental human motivation. Psychological Bulletin, 117(3), 497–529.