1 Sapienza University of Rome (ITALY)
2 Second University of Naples (ITALY)
3 Duke University (UNITED STATES)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN16 Proceedings
Publication year: 2016
Pages: 4818-4827
ISBN: 978-84-608-8860-4
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2016.2155
Conference name: 8th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 4-6 July, 2016
Location: Barcelona, Spain
There are few studies that have examined the association between how youths initiate, maintain, and modulate the expression of anger, sadness, and happiness (emotion regulation) and academic competence. Overall, it is suggested that youths who experience more negative affect and who are less able to voluntary control and adaptively deal with their negative emotions have lower school grades than their peers (e.g., Arsenio & Loria, 2014; Valiente et al., 2008). In addition, other researchers support the role that positive affect has on academic behavior and engagement; for example, experiencing positive emotion promotes high motivation to seek out supplemental learning resources, that, in turn, affect academic achievement (e.g., Pekrun et al., 2009).

There are not previous studies that have examined the joint contribution of emotion regulation and self-efficacy beliefs about emotion regulation (Bandura et al., 2003) on academic achievement.

Self-efficacy beliefs about emotion regulation reflect the control people believe they can exert over an entire emotional experience, including the causes of emotions, one’s own reactions, and their expected consequences (Bandura et al. 2003). It is unlikely (even if possible) that youths can effectively handle their affect if they do not believe themselves capable to do so. In fact, youths who are unable to modulate their negative emotions in the face of stressors, or who are unable to express their joy when good things happen to them may inappropriately externalize negative feelings, such as anger, or may be overwhelmed by, for example, depression. This, in turn, might have educational implications.

The aim of the present study is to examine the relation among self-efficacy beliefs about anger and sadness regulation and about the expression of positive emotions, anger and sadness regulation, the expression of positive emotions, and academic achievement in adolescence. Our hypothesis is that self-efficacy beliefs about emotion regulation affect actual patterns of emotion regulation, that in turn affect achievement.

Interviews were conducted in Italy with 12- to 15 year-old youths (mean age=13.18, DS=.66; 50% boys), their mothers, and their fathers, all involved in an ongoing longitudinal study (e.g., Lansford et al., 2014). Youth’s emotion regulation were assessed via parent- and youth-reports (Early Adolescent Temperament Questionnaire; Ellis & Rothbart, 1999), self-efficacy beliefs were youth-reported via Regulatory Emotional Self-Efficacy Scale (Caprara & Gerbino, 2001; Caprara et al., 2008), school performance was assessed via parent-reports (Child Behavior Checklist; Achenbach, 1991). Structural equation models revealed that emotion regulation significantly mediated the associations between self-efficacy about emotion regulation and academic achievement. In particular, those youths who believe to be able to deal with negative emotions and who believe to be able to express positive emotions, tend to experience less negative emotions and more positive emotions, and, in turn, have a better scholastic performance. This study suggests that teachers, researchers, and professionals can learn much about relations between emotions and achievement by considering the role of self-efficacy beliefs in the domain of emotion regulation.
Self-efficacy, emotion regulation, academic performance.