Coping styles, affective responses and examination performance of university undergraduates

Briggs, Elizabeth and Terry, Peter C. (2010) Coping styles, affective responses and examination performance of university undergraduates. In: 27th International Congress of Applied Psychology, 11-16 July 2010, Melbourne, Australia.

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Abstract

Previous research has shown that emotional intelligence has an indirect beneficial influence on exam performance among university students by reducing psychological distress and negative mood states. The present study sought to extend this line of investigation by assessing whether the coping styles of students also influenced the impact of affective responses on examination performance. A sample of 329 undergraduate students from an Australian university completed the Coping Orientation to Problems Experienced (Brief COPE) to establish coping styles. They then completed the Brunel Mood Scale (BRUMS) and the Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scale (DASS-21) on three occasions during a university semester to monitor affective responses. Examination performance at the end of semester was recorded. Affective responses showed that participants found university study to be stressful. They reported high levels of psychological distress throughout the semester, with mean values for all subscales above the ninetieth percentile. Similarly, mood responses were above the norm for negative mood dimensions. Exploratory factor analysis identified four coping factors, termed approach, avoidance, reframing and problem disengagement. Regression analysis showed that high scores for avoidance and problem disengagement predicted psychological distress and negative mood states over the three testing occasions. Psychological distress mediated relationships between coping styles and negative mood states at mid-semester and preexamination. Coping styles and mood responses predicted examination performance, whereas psychological distress did not. Use of problem disengagement as a coping strategy was associated with poor exam performance, whereas higher mid-semester and pre-exam tension, higher pre-exam vigour, and higher midsemester fatigue were all associated with good exam performance. Results showed that coping styles of university students predicted psychological distress, mood responses and exam performance during the course of a semester of study, and highlighted the negative effects of avoidance and problem disengagement coping. This raises the possibility of implementing programs for undergraduate students to encourage their use of adaptive rather than maladaptive coping strategies.


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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Speech)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Speech presentation - only abstracts published in conference proceedings, as supplied here.
Depositing User: Mrs Melissa Jarick
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Sciences - Department of Psychology
Date Deposited: 26 Aug 2010 04:30
Last Modified: 15 Oct 2014 23:05
Uncontrolled Keywords: exam performance, emotional intelligence, coping, problem disengagement, affective responses
Fields of Research (FOR2008): 17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences > 1701 Psychology > 170103 Educational Psychology
17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences > 1701 Psychology > 170109 Personality, Abilities and Assessment
17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences > 1701 Psychology > 170106 Health, Clinical and Counselling Psychology
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO2008): E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970117 Expanding Knowledge in Psychology and Cognitive Sciences
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/8619

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