Negative affect and academic performance: the mediation role of working memory and protective psychological resources

Negative affect and academic performance: the mediation role of working memory and protective psychological resources

First Author: Enrica Donolato -- Department of Special Needs Education, Oslo (Norway)
Additional authors/chairs: 
David Giofrè; Irene C. Mammarella
Abstract / Summary: 

Academic success is important for personal and everyday life children outcomes. Several studies have considered the association between working memory and academic performance, while others have focused on the relation between negative affect (i.e., anxiety and depression) and/or protective psychological resources (i.e., self-concept and resilience) and academic achievement. However, only few researches have tested all these aspects together in a single study in typically-developing schoolchildren.
In the present research, 141 typically-development children attending sixth and eighth grades were tested. Children were presented with WM tasks, self-report about anxiety, depressive symptoms, self-esteem and resilience. Moreover, mathematics and reading literacy tasks were presented. All reported materials were administrated in 4 sessions lasting approximately 60 minutes each. Based on the extant literature, the present study aimed to test whether working memory and protective psychological resources could mediate the relation between negative affect and academic achievement.
Structural equation models showed that the relation between working memory and protective psychological resources fully mediated the relation between negative affect and mathematical and reading literacy. The model had a good fit (χ2 (128) = 174.73, p < .001, CFI = .958, RMSEA = .050, AIC=11540) and it was better than other considered models. Interestingly, results supported that negative affect could influence mathematical and reading literacy through the mediation of working memory and protective psychological resources. This evidence suggested that interventions considering protective psychological resources are important for supporting academic success.