Academic journal article Pakistan Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology

Emotional Behaviour and Academic Achievement in Middle School Children

Academic journal article Pakistan Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology

Emotional Behaviour and Academic Achievement in Middle School Children

Article excerpt

The present study investigates the relationship between emotional behaviour and academic achievement in middle school children in Hyderabad, Pakistan. One hundred and forty-six students of grade 8 completed the Emotional Behavioural Scale for Pakistani Adolescents (EBS-PA; Soomro, 2010), and rendered measures of their social anxiety, malevolent aggression, and social self-esteem scores. These measures cumulatively represented emotional behaviour in these children, based upon Clarbour and Roger's (2004) model of emotional style, on which the EBS-PA scale is based. We then ascertained academic grades of these students from their school records and ran correlation between academic achievement (grades) and emotional behaviour measures. Results revealed academic achievement to be negatively associated with malevolent aggression, but positively related to social self-esteem. In addition, mediator analysis indicated social self-esteem to partially mediate the relationship between malevolent aggression and academic achievement.

Keywords: emotional behaviour, academic achievement, adolescents, Pakistani

There is robust evidence that emotional and behavioural problems are related with academic difficulties (Arnold, 1997; Hinshaw, 1992). These associations predict school drop-out rate, academic failure, delinquency, drug abuse, and unemployment which not only affect the individual but impacts the society as well (Lane, Carter, Pierson, & Glaeser, 2006; Trout, Nordness, Pierce, & Epstein, 2003). In developed countries, emphasis on developing a healthy personality during childhood has led to life successes in the individuals' adult life (Shiner & Caspi, 2003). However, such emphasis in developing countries like Pakistan lack major thrust (Stewart & Bond, 2002), with little awareness in professionals and caregivers of the mental and psychological well-being of children (Karim, Saeed, Rana, Mubbashar, & Jenkins, 2004). General observations suggest that when children go to paediatricians or general practitioners of medicine for their routine medical checkups, medical professionals may neglect assessing psychological problems and health (Ozer et al., 2009). Ignoring emotional and behavioural problems leads to impoverished scholastic performance (Simpson, Patterson, & Smith, 2011). Consequently, many children fail to thrive or meet their potential during their academic and later in their occupational life (Khalid, 2003).

Anxiety and aggressive emotional styles pose problems for students and challenges for educators (Simpson et al., 2011). Students with internalising behaviour problems often do not pay attention to their teachers to avoid challenging them and interrupting instructional process (Lane, 2007). If such problems are left undiagnosed, scholastic performance, social interactions, self-esteem, and life skills are affected (Goldman, 2009). In addition, internalising and externalising behavioural problems are linked with academic difficulties (Arnold, 1997; Frick et al., 1991; Hinshaw, 1992). For instance, Hinshaw (1992) reported that inattention and hyperactivity are the stronger correlates of academic achievement problems than aggressive behaviours during childhood whereas

anti-social behaviours and delinquency are considered as the stronger correlates with low academic achievement during adolescence. A preliminary study has also indicated that adolescents diagnosed with externalising and/or internalising disorders attending psychiatric clinics scored higher on malevolent aggression and social anxiety respectively than normal school children (Soomro & Clarbour, 2010).

The evidence linking internalising problems to academic achievement over time is less consistent (Masten et al., 2005). For example, studies linking these problems with academic achievement suggest that objective and perceived academic failures in an inconsistent manner are related to change in internalising symptoms (Chen, Rubin, & Li, 1997; Cole, Martin, & Powers, 1997; Maughan, Rowe, Loeber, & Stouthamer-Loeber, 2003). …

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