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Symes, Wendy; Putwain, David W. and Remedios, Richard (2015): The enabling and protective role of academic buoyancy in the appraisal of fear appeals used prior to high stakes examinations. In: School Psychology international, Vol. 6: pp. 605-619 [PDF, 206kB]


Prior to high stakes examinations, teachers may engage in instructional practices to encourage their students to prepare well for their exams, including the use of ‘fear appeals’. The current study examined whether academic buoyancy played a role in student appraisals of fear appeals as threatening or challenging. High school students (N = 770) preparing for high-stakes mathematics exams in England completed self-report measures of the frequency with which their teacher used fear appeals, how they appraised those fear appeals, and their academic buoyancy. In line with prediction, students appraised fear appeals as more threatening and challenging as the frequency of fear appeal use increased. When fear appeals were used more frequently, a challenge appraisal was more likely when academic buoyancy was higher. Although a threat appraisal was less likely when academic buoyancy was higher, the protective influence diminished when fear appeals were used more frequently. Educational implications are discussed.

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