Gender differences in predictors of academic success: mental toughness and affect

Stock, Rosemary, Hunt, Frances, Fern Pollak, Liory, Lynam, Siobhan, Cachia, Moira and Usher, Lee (2015) Gender differences in predictors of academic success: mental toughness and affect. In: Teaching and Learning Conference 2015, Monday 29th June 2015, University of West London.

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Abstract

Previous research has identified that while negative emotions can have a detrimental effect on academic achievements (Valiente et al. 2012), mental toughness can be a positive predictor of success (Robinson 2013). The current survey study investigates these possible predictors of academic success within undergraduate students at the University of West London. An opportunity sample of 161 participants (120 female, 41 male, aged 18 to 48) completed the Mental Toughness Questionnaire (MTQ48) (Clough et al. 2002) and the Positive and Negative Affect Scale (PANAS) (Watson et al. 1988). With the students’ permission their questionnaire data was compared to their mean end of year marks.

Controlling for age, female students showed a negative correlation between grades and the MTQ48 subscales Control-of-Emotion and Confidence-in-Abilities. The latter could suggest that over confidence may be having a negative effect on academic achievement. Within the male students (again controlling for age) the above correlations were non-significant, but a significant positive correlation was found between grades and Commitment.

As would be predicted by the research of Crust et al. (2009), the female group showed no relationship between the PANAS and academic achievement. Taking this result in conjunction with the correlation with Control-of-Emotion, it seems that for female students it is not the level of positive or negative emotion that can predict academic success, so much as their control of such emotions. However, for the male participants there was a positive correlation between positive affect and grade.

Implications of the current findings for our own students at UWL include the challenge of addressing over confidence in some female students, although the recruitment of a greater proportion of male participants may clarify this finding. On-going qualitative research using focus group methodology is now addressing the students’ perception of predictors of academic success, aimed at a more in-depth understanding of the predictors of their own academic achievements.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Speech)
Subjects: Education
Psychology
Depositing User: Moira Cachia
Date Deposited: 16 Jul 2015 12:20
Last Modified: 24 Oct 2016 14:34
URI: http://repository.uwl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1238

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