Date of Award

Spring 5-2024

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Dawn Hunter

Second Advisor

Douglas D. Havard

Third Advisor

Oliver Lopez


The primary purpose of this paper was to assess the well-being levels and language learning mindsets of English as a foreign language learners in Chinese higher vocational colleges; explore the relationship between well-being levels, growth language mindset (GLM), and English learning performance (i.e., College English Test [CET 4] scores); and compare specific differences in well-being levels, language growth mindset, and English performance (i.e., CET 4 scores) in demographic aspects (i.e., gender, hometown locales, family planning, and CET 4 times). A quantitative study among EFL students (n = 1,030) was conducted to answer the research questions. Specifically, Spearman correlations were used to explore the relationship between well-being levels, GLM, and CET 4 scores. The Mann-Whitney U test and the Kruskal-Wallis test were applied to compare demographic differences. The research results indicated a strong positive correlation between well-being levels and GLM among Chinese higher vocational students (r = .589). Moreover, weak positive correlations were confirmed between well-being levels, GLM, and CET 4 scores. Surprisingly, due to the influence of traditional Chinese thinking modes (e.g., Yin–Yang mindset, Zhong–Yong mindset), participants’ negative emotions were positively correlated with the subdimensions of well-being profiles (i.e., positive emotions, engagement, relationships, meaning, and accomplishment) weakly; additionally, the perceived level of meaning in life and GLM displayed a strong positive correlation (r = .583). Demographically, compared to their counterparts, women, only children, and participants from urban areas outperformed in CET 4 scores significantly. The results suggested stakeholders could enhance students’ English performance by improving their well-being levels and cultivating GLM overall. In addition, EFL teachers could focus on developing students’ sense of meaning in life, shaping a GLM, and guiding students to adjust negative emotions in life rationally. Although female EFL learners had a significant advantage in English performance, English teachers should avoid perpetuating this mindset and refrain from amplifying gender differences. Furthermore, the clear benefits of only children and urban EFL learners in English performance reflected the imbalance in educational resource allocation. Thus, the family planning policy and disparity in urban–rural resources needed more attention from relevant government departments and policymakers.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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