The role of mental toughness and affect in academic success within a higher education setting

Hunt, Frances, Fern Pollak, Liory, Stock, Rosemary, Usher, Lee, Lynam, Siobhan and Cachia, Moira (2014) The role of mental toughness and affect in academic success within a higher education setting. In: Teaching and Learning Conference 2014, 24th June 2014, University of West London.

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Abstract

‘Mental Toughness’ is recognised as an important component in academic success (Robinson 2013) represented by the psychological qualities that determine how challenges are effectively addressed in pressurised situations (Dewhurst et al. 2012). Valiente et al. (2012) highlighted that negative emotions can have a detrimental impact on academic success. However little is known about the impact of positive affect on academic success (Valiente et al. 2012) although Qualter et al. (2009) found well-developed emotional intelligence to be important in successful retention of students in higher education (HE). The aim of this study was to investigate whether HE students who report greater mental toughness and positive affect are more likely to be academically successful. An opportunity sample of 175 University of West London Psychology students took part; 95 consented to have their modular results accessed by the researchers. Mental Toughness was measured using the Mental Toughness Questionnaire (MTQ48; Clough et al. 2002). Positive and negative affect were measured by the Positive and Negative Affect Scale (PANAS; Watson et al. 1988). Mean module assessment scores for the preceding semester were also recorded as an indicator of academic success. Correlational analysis indicated that Mental Toughness and Affect may differentially impact on males and females. Partial correlation analysis (controlling for participant age) revealed that module assessment scores in males positively correlated with the MTQ48 subscale ‘commitment’ and the Positive Affect scale. Module assessment scores in females positively correlated with the overall MTQ48 score and subscales of ‘commitment’ and ‘control of life’. Female participants showed no significant relationships between module assessment scores and the PANAS. This may suggest that a sense of commitment is an important factor in academic success and may relate to enhanced engagement with learning. In females, these findings may also indicate superior organisational skills have a positive influence on academic activities. These initial findings are part of an ongoing longitudinal study. Additional demographic variables will be examined to assess their potential impact on modular and overall academic performance in addition to student retention.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Poster)
Subjects: Education
Psychology
Depositing User: Moira Cachia
Date Deposited: 16 Jul 2015 12:11
Last Modified: 24 Oct 2016 13:41
URI: http://repository.uwl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1237

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