Academic journal article College Student Journal

Test Anxiety and Academic Delay of Gratification

Academic journal article College Student Journal

Test Anxiety and Academic Delay of Gratification

Article excerpt

The present study examined the relationship between college students' willingness to delay gratification, motivation, self-regulation of learning, and their level of test anxiety (N = 364). Academic delay of gratification refers to students' postponement of immediately available opportunities to satisfy impulses in favor of pursuing academic goals. The results indicated that there is not a statistically significant correlation between academic delay of gratification and test anxiety. Self-regulation of learning emerged as a negative predictor of test anxiety. The results also indicated that self-efficacy was the highest negative predictors of test anxiety. Extrinsic motivation was the highest positive predictor of test anxiety. The implications of these results for education are discussed.

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Among the diversity of academic experiences associated with emotions, test anxiety has a long educational history that warrants ongoing attention today (Cizek & Burg, 2006; Zeidner & Matthews, 2005). Test anxiety refers to "the negative affect, worry, physiological arousal, and behavioral responses that accompany concerns about failure or lack of competence on an exam or similar evaluative situation" (Matthews, Zeidner, & Roberts, 2006, p. 175). Test performance may depend on whether students continue to study, even when anxiety has arisen and attractive alternatives demand attention, such as attending a party or having fun with friends. Attaining long-term academic goals could depend on the students' willingness to delay gratification (Bembenutty, in press). Academic delay of gratification refers to students' postponement of immediately available opportunities to satisfy impulses in favor of pursuing important academic rewards or goals that are temporally remote but ostensibly more valuable (Bembenutty, 1999; Bembenutty & Karabenick, 2004). Despite the negative association between academic achievement and test anxiety, relatively little is known about how other factors, such as students' preference for delay gratification in an academic context, are related to test anxiety. Academic delay of gratification has been associated with positive academic outcomes (Bembenutty & Karabenick, 2004). Thus, the present study examined the relationship between learners' willingness to delay gratification and their level of test anxiety, even after statistically controlling for students' motivational tendencies and use of resource management strategies.

Test Anxiety

In studying students' academic performance, motivation, and learning, it is necessary to consider the affective components that influence the learning process (Meijer, & Ostdam, 2007; Schunk, Pintrich, & Meece, 2008; Zeidner & Matthews, 2005). One affective component is test anxiety, which has two subcomponents: emotionality and cognition (Liebert & Morris, 1967; Matthews, Zeidner, & Roberts, 2006; Spielberger & Vagg, 1995). The emotionality subcomponent refers to physical arousal in relation to performance (Schunk, Pintrich, & Meece, 2008; Spielberger & Vagg, 1995). The cognitive component refers to the worry that interferes with attention, concentration, and effective information processing (Liebert & Morris, 1967; Matthews, Zeidner, & Roberts, 2006), which can be detrimental to knowledge acquisition. Of the two components of test anxiety, worry rather than emotionality has been identified as having the more pervasive effect on academic performance (Liebert & Morris, 1967).

The detrimental effects of test anxiety have been well established (Matthews, Zeidner, & Roberts, 2006; Schunk, Pintrich, & Meece, 2008). Anxiety may not be detrimental, for example, when students are highly motivated to achieve and/or have available strategies that ameliorate the negative influence of anxiety. Those associations, however, have not been extensively investigated. A promising conceptual approach to the constellation of student characteristics that may be associated with anxiety is the students' willingness to delay gratification. …

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