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The Mediating Role of Implicit and Explicit Emotion Regulation in the Relationship Between Academic Emotions and Approaches to Learning

Do Defense Styles Matter?

Rentzios, Christos; Kamtsios, Spiridon PhD; Karagiannopoulou, Evangelia

The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease: August 2019 - Volume 207 - Issue 8 - p 683–692
doi: 10.1097/NMD.0000000000001027
Original Articles
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The present study belongs to a new strand of research in learning in higher education focusing on emotions and emotion regulation, including defense mechanisms. The purpose of the study was to investigate the mediating role of implicit and explicit emotion regulation in the relationship between academic emotions and approaches to learning. Participants were composed of 226 undergraduates (40 males and 186 females studying in a social science department). They completed the following questionnaires: Emotion Regulation Questionnaire, Student Experience of Emotions Inventory, Defense Style Questionnaire, and Approaches to Learning and Studying Inventory. Both the moderating (interaction) and the mediational (indirect) effects were examined using the PROCESS program. Results failed to indicate the moderating role of emotion regulation in the association between academic emotions and approaches to learning. Instead, results revealed the dominant mediating role of emotion regulation and particularly the role of immature defense style in the relationship between negative emotions and approaches to learning. Moreover, reappraisal and suppression seemed to act as mediators in the relationship between positive and negative emotions with deep and surface approaches, respectively. The results of the study are discussed in the context of the recent literature. Implications for higher-education institutions regarding the role of unconscious cognitive processes are also discussed.

Department of Philosophy, Education, and Psychology, University of Ioannina, Ioannina, Greece.

Christos Rentzios is a PhD student in the Department of Philosophy, Education and Psychology, Section: Psychology, University of Ioannina, Greece. His current research interests concern emotion regulation, defense mechanisms, academic emotions, and approaches to learning in higher education.

Spiridon Kamtsios, PhD, is a laboratory teaching staff in the Department of Philosophy, Education and Psychology, University of Ioannina, Greece. His current research interests concern academic hardiness, emotions, and coping strategies in higher education.

Evangelia Karagiannopoulou is an Associate Professor of Educational Psychology, Department of Philosophy, Education and Psychology, University of Ioannina, Greece. Her current research interests concern learning, understanding, students' experiences of teaching, stress, academic emotions, and emotion regulation in higher education.

Send reprint requests to Christos Rentzios, 694 0757 066, Agion Taxiarchon 13, Pedini, Ioannina, Greece. E-mail: rentziosch@hotmail.com.

Evangelia Karagiannopoulou came up with the manuscript idea. She suggested the methodology and the relevant literature. She wrote the discussion together with Christos Rentzios. Christos Rentzios carried out the literature review and contributed to the writing up of the Introduction section. Also, he contributed to the analysis of the data.

The Methodology section is written by Spiridon Kamtsios. The Data analysis and the Results sections were conducted and written by Spiridon Kamtsios with some contribution of Christos Rentzios.

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