The academically engaged life of mastery-oriented students: Causal ordering among positive emotions, mastery-approach goals, and academic engagement



Published 19-01-2023
Jesus Alfonso D. Datu Jana Patricia M. Valdez Weipeng Yang


Although prior research shows that well-being is linked to effective learning, there is scarce evidence on how positive emotions relate to achievement goals and objective measures of school engagement. Drawing from the broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions, this study examines the reciprocal associations of positive emotions with mastery-approach goals and teacher-reported academic engagement (using a two-wave longitudinal design. A survey comprising measures to assess students’ positive emotions (i.e., Modified Differential Emotions Scale) and mastery-approach goals (i.e., Achievement Goal Questionnaire – Revised) was administered to 411 Filipino high school students at two separate time points (i.e., 1-month interval). Ten classroom advisers also filled in a teacher-reported measure of academic engagement to provide a more objective estimate of each student's involvement in academic activities. Results of cross-lagged panel structural equation modeling via maximum likelihood estimation approach showed that positive emotions had positive concurrent relationships to mastery-approach goals and all engagement dimensions. Contradicting previous research, positive emotions did not predict subsequent mastery-approach goals and engagement after controlling for auto-regressor effects. Mastery approach goals positively predicted subsequent positive emotions, behavioral engagement, and cognitive engagement. Engagement dimensions did not relate to succeeding positive emotions and mastery approach goals. Results of this investigation highlight the emotional and academic benefits associated with students’ intrinsic drive to learn in school contexts.

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