Academic journal article Canadian Psychology

The Regulation of Achievements Emotions: Implications for Research and Practice

Academic journal article Canadian Psychology

The Regulation of Achievements Emotions: Implications for Research and Practice

Article excerpt

In educational contexts, students experience a range of emotions, which can occur in response to a variety of stimuli, such as achievement outcomes (Pekrun & Linnenbrink-Garcia, 2014). These emotions are referred to as achievement emotions because "they are tied to achievement activities or achievement outcomes" (Pekrun, 2006, p. 317). Achievement emotions are important because they mediate effective learning by influencing the correlates of achievement, including cognitive, motivational, and behavioral factors (Pekrun, 2006; Pekrun & Perry, 2014). For example, positive activating emotions, such as enjoyment, preserve cognitive resources, direct attention toward the achievement task, and promote motivation and deep learning (e.g., Meinhardt & Pekrun, 2003; Pekrun, Goetz, Titz, & Perry, 2002). As such, these emotions relate positively to learning and achievement (e.g., Ahmed, van der Werf, Kuyper, & Minnaert, 2013; Buric & Soric, 2012; Villavicencio & Bernardo, 2013). On the other hand, negative activating emotions, such as anxiety, are expected to reduce cognitive resources, direct attention away from the task, reduce motivation, and lead to more surface learning (e.g., Pekrun et al., 2002; Turner & Schallert, 2001). As a consequence, negative activating emotions are related negatively to learning and achievement (e.g., Buric & Soric, 2012; Dettmers et al., 2011; Hembree, 1998; Zeidner, 1998). This growing body of work has highlighted the need for fostering adaptive achievement emotions to promote learning and achievement. However, how adaptive achievement emotions can be supported remains an underexplored area of research (Pekrun & Perry, 2014). Emotion regulation is one possible mechanism to support adaptive achievement emotions.

Control over one's emotions was initially examined in the form of coping with stressful events and focused on the control of negative affect (Lazarus & Folkman, 1984). More recently, research has examined emotion regulation, which is the ability to modify the occurrence, intensity, and duration of positive and negative emotion (Gross, 1998). In clinical, personality, and developmental psychology, emotion regulation has witnessed an increase in empirical research, which has linked emotion regulation to various outcomes, including psychological and emotional adjustment (e.g., Berking, Orth, Wupperman, Meier, & Caspar, 2008; Silk, Steinberg, & Morris, 2003), mental health (e.g., Berking & Wupperman, 2012; Gross & Muñoz, 1995), and well-being (e.g., Gross & John, 2003). More recent investigations, however, have revealed that the causes and consequences of emotion regulation are more nuanced than earlier research suggested. For example, the implementation of specific emotion regulation strategies has shown various patterns of adaptiveness and effectiveness (for reviews, see Aldao, Nolen-Hoeksema, & Scheiwzer, 2010; Webb, Miles, & Sheeran, 2012). In addition, it now appears that context is of particular importance for emotion regulation decisions and consequences (e.g., Aldao, 2013; Gross, 2015; Troy, Schallcross, & Mauss, 2013). Accordingly, findings from the broader psychological literature might not necessarily generalize to educational settings or specific contexts within these settings. This raises many foundational questions for research and practice in education, including the following: (a) Which emotions should be regulated? (b) When should emotions be regulated? (c) How should emotions be regulated? and (d) What are the consequences of emotion regulation? Addressing these questions is critical because student emotions are not only central to learning and achievement but also for student well-being and retention (Pekrun & Perry, 2014).

In this article, we review the conceptualization, process, and consequences of regulating achievement emotions. In the next section, we review theories of emotion and models of emotion regulation by drawing on related fields of psychology, as well as educational psychology. …

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