How anxiety and self-efficacy affect school performance: Mediating role of learning and coping strategies  [presentation, ppt, 787 kB]

Loncaric D.
University of Rijeka, Faculty of Teacher Education, Rijeka, Croatia

Anxiety and self-efficacy are among best investigated correlates of academic achievement. There is considerable empirical evidence suggesting that self-efficacy is one of the best motivational predictors of learning and achievement outcomes. Anxiety has somewhat more complex relationship with academic achievement. Zeidner (1998) points out that high level of anxiety usually leads to less adaptive cognitive processing and lower achievement, while Garcia and Pintrich (1994) suggest that some students can be motivated by anxiety to try harder and study more, thus increasing their achievement. Numerous researches have also investigated different mediating variables, usually focusing on cognitive learning strategies. This research aims to broaden our understanding of self-efficacy and anxiety effects on academic achievement using both learning strategies and coping with school failure strategies as mediators. Croatian upper elementary students (213 boys and 238 girls; 11-14 years of age) participated in this investigation. The self-reports were gathered by the Self-Regulated Learning Components Scale and Academic Stress Coping Scale (Loncaric, 2006, 2008). The results showed that learning and coping strategies fully mediate anxiety and self-efficacy effects. Some inconsistent mediation effects were identified, explaining inconsistencies in previous empirical research. For example, test anxiety has negative effect on the school achievement via the increase in the use of the emotion-protective disengagement coping strategy and surface cognitive processing learning strategy, and positive effect on academic achievement via the increase in the use of the (meta)cognitive control circle learning strategy. Also, some artificial direct effects of self-efficacy onto academic achievement appear only in the models that do not consider coping strategies as mediators. This finding is discussed and interpreted as model misspecification error.