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Positive academic emotions moderate the relationship between self-regulation and academic achievement


Correspondence should be addressed to Felicidad T. Villavicencio, Bulacan State University College of Social Sciences and Philosophy, Guinhawa, Malolos City, Bulacan 3000, Philippines (e-mail: or Allan B. I. Bernardo, De La Salle University, 2401 Taft Avenue, Manila 1004, Philippines (e-mail:;


Background. Research has shown how academic emotions are related to achievement and to cognitive/motivational variables that promote achievement. Mediated models have been proposed to account for the relationships among academic emotions, cognitive/motivational variables, and achievement, and research has supported such mediated models, particularly with negative emotions.

Aims. The study tested the hypotheses: (1) self-regulation and the positive academic emotions of enjoyment and pride are positive predictors of achievement; and (2) enjoyment and pride both moderate the relationship between self-regulation and achievement.

Sample. Participants were 1,345 students enrolled in various trigonometry classes in one university.

Methods. Participants answered the Academic Emotions Questionnaire-Math (Pekrun, Goetz, & Frenzel, 2005) and a self-regulation scale (Pintrich, Smith, Garcia, & McKeachie, 1991) halfway through their trigonometry class. The students’ final grades in the course were regressed to self-regulation, positive emotions, and the interaction terms to test the moderation effects.

Results and Conclusions. Enjoyment and pride were both positive predictors of grades; more importantly, both moderated the relationship between self-regulation and grades. For students who report higher levels of both positive emotions, self-regulation was positively associated with grades. However, for those who report lower levels of pride, self-regulation was not related to grades; and, for those who reported lower levels of enjoyment, self-regulation was negatively related to grades. The results are discussed in terms of how positive emotions indicate positive appraisals of task/outcome value, and thus enhance the positive links between cognitive/motivational variables and learning.