|عنوان فارسی مقاله:||حفظ عزت نفس دانشجویان و رویکردهای یادگیری در آموزش عالی: پیشبینی کنندهها و پیامدها|
|عنوان انگلیسی مقاله:||Students’ self-worth protection and approaches to learning in higher education: predictors and consequences|
|رشته های مرتبط:||علوم تربیتی، مدیریت و برنامه ریزی آموزشی|
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|نشریه||اسپرینگر – Springer|
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The aim of this study was to test a process model of students’ learning in higher education, linking anxiety, course experience (positive and negative), self-worth protection (SWP) (self-handicapping, defensive expectations, reflectivity), student approach to learning (SAL) (deep/surface), and achievement. Path and bootstrap analyses of data from 899 firstyear university students showed that anxiety significantly predicted all SWP strategies and that positive course experience negatively predicted defensive expectations, whereas negative course experience was linked to higher levels of self-handicapping and reflectivity. Deep approach was linked negatively to self-handicapping and positively to reflectivity, whereas surface approach was associated positively with both self-handicapping and defensive expectations. Finally, deep approach positively predicted achievement and partially mediated the effect of self-handicapping on achievement. These findings support the validity of linking SWP with SAL and demonstrate meaningful connections between these and the anxiety and course experience of students. Implications for theory and practice are discussed.
Self-worth protection (SWP) involves strategies that some students use in the face of academic failure or fear of it (De Castella et al. 2013). Although these strategies may serve to defend an individual from experiencing low self-worth (Martin and Marsh 2003), many are considered academically maladaptive (Urdan 2004). Although much is known about the relationship between SWP strategies and different contextual and person-related variables (e.g., see Martin and Marsh 2003 for a review), relatively less attention has been given to their role in students’ approaches to learning in higher education. Instead, SWP strategies tend to be mapped against outcomes such as academic achievement and not so much against learning approaches that may mediate the link to achievement. Students’ approaches to learning (SALs, e.g., deep and surface) refer to how students go about their learning, including intentions (motives) and methods (strategies) (Biggs 2001). In a recent meta-analysis into self-handicapping, for example, Schwinger et al. (2014) concluded, inter alia, it is important to analyze the associations between self-handicapping and the use of specific learning strategies. It is also the case that SWP research often takes place with only a single SWP strategy as its empirical focus. For example, self-handicapping, but not other SWP strategies, will be investigated. Thus, alongside the need to explore SWP and SAL, there is also a need to consider multiple SWP strategies in order to control for their shared variance and thus assess their unique role in the academic process. The present study examined self-handicapping and defensive pessimism as two such SWP strategies and their role in predicting SAL. Relatively little is known about the extent to which SWP is related to surface and deep SAL, potential antecedents of this relationship (in this study: anxiety and course experiences), and how all these are linked to academic achievement. The aim of this study was, therefore, to propose and test a process model of students’ learning in higher education, linking anxiety, course experience, SWP, SAL, and achievement.
SWP strategies: self-handicapping and defensive pessimism
Self-worth motivation theory (Covington 2000) states that individuals establish a sense of worth—a positive self-image—closely tied to ability, which they try to maintain. In the academic context, failure may be seen as a sign of low ability, which can translate to low self-worth, and this leads students to adopt strategies aimed at protecting self-worth (De Castella et al. 2013). Researchers have examined a wide variety of these SWP strategies, among which self-handicapping and defensive pessimism have been some of the more frequently examined strategies (Martin, Marsh & Debus 2001, 2003). Self-handicapping is a strategy used to generate plausible explanations (excuses or alibis), other than lack of ability, for potential failure (Urdan 2004). By using this strategy, individuals obtain two benefits. The first is protection from failure and its harm to self-worth, and the second is more credit for their success if they do succeed (Alter and Forgas 2007). In the case of self-handicapping’s self-enhancing function, on the relatively few occasions that students may succeed following self-handicapping behavior, there is the possibility that they will be seen as having higher ability. That is, having succeeded with relatively little effort (for example), the conclusion to be drawn is that the student must be high in ability (Covington 2000). Notwithstanding this self-enhancing possibility, the vast body of work demonstrates a predominantly protective function in the event of poor performance that is underpinned by maladaptive antecedents and negative outcomes (that connote self-protection) and not adaptive antecedents and positive outcomes (that connote a self-enhancing function; e.g., see Covington 2000; Martin et al. 2001, 2003). For this reason, we focus predominantly on self-handicapping as a self-worth protection strategy. Examples of self-handicapping include strategic lack of High Educ effort or practice, procrastination, and ingestion of drugs or alcohol (Martin et al. 2003). These can then be used as an excuse in the event of possible failure and as a means to deflect the cause of poor performance away from a lack of ability (threatening to self-worth) and onto a lack of effort (less threatening to self-worth). In the main, self-handicapping is associated with negative academic outcomes (Covington 2000; Martin et al. 2001, 2003). With regards to defensive pessimism, according to Norem and Cantor (1986), this SWP strategy comprises two components. First, students reduce their expectations of how they will perform in that task. By lowering their self-expectations, students establish performance standards that are safer and easier to achieve and by which their ability is judged, minimizing feelings of anxiety and protecting their ability and subsequent self-worth (Norem and Cantor 1986). This component is referred to as defensive expectations (Martin et al. 2001). Second, prior to a task or performance, students think about all possible positive and negative outcomes, as a means of primary control. This is referred to as reflectivity. Thinking through these various possibilities is a means of managing anxiety (Norem and Cantor 1986). Interestingly, the two components seem to impact academic outcomes in distinct ways: defensive expectations are negatively associated, while reflectivity is positively associated with outcomes (Martin et al. 2003).