Empirical studies and conceptual frameworks presented in the extant literature offer a static imagining of academic failure. Time-to-event analysis, which captures the dynamism of individual factors, as when they determine the failure to properly tailor timely strategies, impose longitudinal studies which are still lacking within the field. The aims of this longitudinal study were to investigate the time which elapses from a nursing student's admission to a Bachelor of Nursing program to their academic failure and to estimate the predictive power of individual variables on academic failure. Enrolled students (n = 170) in two Italian nursing degree programs during academic year 2008-2009, received at the beginning of each years a questionnaire which evaluated individual variables. Academic failure rate was 37.2 %. Time-to-event analysis has shown that academic failure occurred after an average of 664.52 days of course attendance (95 %CI = 623.2-705.8). Kaplan-Meier analyses demonstrated a high likelihood of failure among males (χ2 7.790, p 0.005) and among those who had obtained a final average grade in their secondary education ≤73/100 (χ211.676, p 0.001). Cox regression analysis confirmed an increased likelihood of failure over time among males as compared to females (HR 1.931, 95 %CI = 1.017-3.670), and among students living more than a 30 min commute from their place of study (HR 1.898, 95 %CI = 1.015-3.547). The effect of these two factors on academic failure has been seen to manifest primarily toward the end of students' second academic year; students at risk might be supported by the appropriate university staff prior to this period. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.
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