Fear appeals prior to a high-stakes examination can have a positive or negative impact on engagement depending on how the message is appraised

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Citations (Scopus)
2 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Previous studies have shown that teachers may use messages that focus on the importance of avoiding failure (fear appeals) prior to high-stakes examinations as a motivational tactic. The aim of this study was to examine whether fear appeals, and their appraisal as challenging or threatening, impacted on student engagement. Data were collected from 1373 students, clustered in 46 classes, and 81 teachers responsible for instruction in those classes, prior to a high-stakes mathematics secondary school exit examination. Data were analyzed in a multilevel structural equation model. The appraisal of fear appeals as challenging leads to greater student engagement and as threatening to lower student engagement. The impact of fear appeals on engagement was mediated by challenge and threat appraisals. The effectiveness of fear appeals as a motivational strategy depends on how they are interpreted by students.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-31
JournalContemporary Educational Psychology
Volume44-45
Early online date22 Dec 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jan 2016

Fingerprint

Fear
appeal
Students
anxiety
examination
student
Mathematics
Structural Models
teacher
structural model
tactics
secondary school
mathematics
threat
instruction

Cite this

@article{8bce08bb334b41e69718e47b56426e4f,
title = "Fear appeals prior to a high-stakes examination can have a positive or negative impact on engagement depending on how the message is appraised",
abstract = "Previous studies have shown that teachers may use messages that focus on the importance of avoiding failure (fear appeals) prior to high-stakes examinations as a motivational tactic. The aim of this study was to examine whether fear appeals, and their appraisal as challenging or threatening, impacted on student engagement. Data were collected from 1373 students, clustered in 46 classes, and 81 teachers responsible for instruction in those classes, prior to a high-stakes mathematics secondary school exit examination. Data were analyzed in a multilevel structural equation model. The appraisal of fear appeals as challenging leads to greater student engagement and as threatening to lower student engagement. The impact of fear appeals on engagement was mediated by challenge and threat appraisals. The effectiveness of fear appeals as a motivational strategy depends on how they are interpreted by students.",
author = "Dave Putwain and Laura Nicholson and Ghada Nakhla and Monika Reece and Benjamin Porter and Anthony Liversidge",
year = "2016",
month = "1",
day = "31",
doi = "10.1016/j.cedpsych.2015.12.001",
language = "English",
volume = "44-45",
pages = "21--31",
journal = "Contemporary Educational Psychology",
issn = "0361-476X",
publisher = "Elsevier",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Fear appeals prior to a high-stakes examination can have a positive or negative impact on engagement depending on how the message is appraised

AU - Putwain, Dave

AU - Nicholson, Laura

AU - Nakhla, Ghada

AU - Reece, Monika

AU - Porter, Benjamin

AU - Liversidge, Anthony

PY - 2016/1/31

Y1 - 2016/1/31

N2 - Previous studies have shown that teachers may use messages that focus on the importance of avoiding failure (fear appeals) prior to high-stakes examinations as a motivational tactic. The aim of this study was to examine whether fear appeals, and their appraisal as challenging or threatening, impacted on student engagement. Data were collected from 1373 students, clustered in 46 classes, and 81 teachers responsible for instruction in those classes, prior to a high-stakes mathematics secondary school exit examination. Data were analyzed in a multilevel structural equation model. The appraisal of fear appeals as challenging leads to greater student engagement and as threatening to lower student engagement. The impact of fear appeals on engagement was mediated by challenge and threat appraisals. The effectiveness of fear appeals as a motivational strategy depends on how they are interpreted by students.

AB - Previous studies have shown that teachers may use messages that focus on the importance of avoiding failure (fear appeals) prior to high-stakes examinations as a motivational tactic. The aim of this study was to examine whether fear appeals, and their appraisal as challenging or threatening, impacted on student engagement. Data were collected from 1373 students, clustered in 46 classes, and 81 teachers responsible for instruction in those classes, prior to a high-stakes mathematics secondary school exit examination. Data were analyzed in a multilevel structural equation model. The appraisal of fear appeals as challenging leads to greater student engagement and as threatening to lower student engagement. The impact of fear appeals on engagement was mediated by challenge and threat appraisals. The effectiveness of fear appeals as a motivational strategy depends on how they are interpreted by students.

U2 - 10.1016/j.cedpsych.2015.12.001

DO - 10.1016/j.cedpsych.2015.12.001

M3 - Article

VL - 44-45

SP - 21

EP - 31

JO - Contemporary Educational Psychology

JF - Contemporary Educational Psychology

SN - 0361-476X

ER -