Fear appeals used prior high-stakes examinations: Why are they appraised as threatening and do they impact on subjective task value?

Dave Putwain, Richard Remedios, Wendy Symes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Citations (Scopus)
32 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Fear appeals are persuasive messages that highlight the negative consequences of a particular course of action. Studies have shown that attainment value and academic self-efficacy predict how fear appeals are appraised. In this study we examined how the appraisal of fear appeals might also influence subsequent attainment value and academic self-efficacy. Self-report data were collected from 1433 students in their final two years of secondary education over three waves. Findings revealed that when students saw fear appeals as a challenge attainment value and academic self-efficacy were higher. When students saw fear appeals as a threat, attainment value and academic self-efficacy were lower. These results highlight the functional importance of how fear appeals are appraised. Challenge and threat appraisals were not mere by products of attainment value or academic self-efficacy but impacted on attainment value and academic self-efficacy; variables that are likely to make a critical impact on educational progress and attainment. We conclude that initial teacher education and teacher professional development programs would benefit from enhanced interpersonal and relational-skills training to enable teachers to judge more effectively how fear appeals are appraised.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-28
JournalLearning and Instruction
Volume40
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 8 Aug 2015

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