Self-Regulation and (Pre-)Academic Performance of Children and Young Adults in Germany and Iran

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URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10900/93655
http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:bsz:21-dspace-936556
http://dx.doi.org/10.15496/publikation-35040
Dokumentart: Dissertation
Date: 2021-09-03
Language: English
Faculty: 7 Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät
Department: Psychologie
Advisor: Gawrilow, Caterina (Prof. Dr.)
Day of Oral Examination: 2019-09-04
DDC Classifikation: 150 - Psychology
Keywords: Selbstregulation
Other Keywords:
Self-regulation
License: Publishing license including print on demand
Order a printed copy: Print-on-Demand
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Inhaltszusammenfassung:

Dissertation ist gesperrt bis 3. September 2021 !

Abstract:

Self-regulation is a multidimensional construct that is defined as the ability to control thoughts, emotions, and behaviors and is positively related to academic achievement. Moreover, self-regulation is context-sensitive, suggesting that self-regulation abilities displayed by individuals might differ across different contexts. Germany and Iran provide two different contexts with distinct cultural characteristics that may affect self-regulation. In addition, up to this point, self-regulation has been mainly studied in Western countries with similar cultural contexts and there is a lack of research exploring self-regulation and its associations with academic performance in non-Western countries. Hence, the present dissertation investigated self-regulation and its association with (pre)academic performance in Germany and Iran with the aim of contributing to the better understanding of the context-sensitivity of self-regulation. The development of self-regulation in college students as young adults is deeply embedded in the context in which they grew up, besides they are yet engaged in education and academic performance. However, although the relation of self-regulation and academic performance is well established for children, studies investigating this relationship in adults are rather scarce, hence requiring further research. Accordingly, in the first step, Study 1 examined the relation of different aspects of self-regulation and mathematics performance in young adults. In the second step, Study 2 compared the relationship between self-regulation and mathematics performance in young adults in two different countries (i.e., Germany and Iran). Therefore, Study 1 and Study 2 are best considered in conjunction. Furthermore, the results of longitudinal studies in Western countries revealed that academic performance can be predicted by a child’s self-regulation abilities at preschool age. Considering dissimilar effects of different contexts on the development of self-regulation, these results suggest that there might be differences between German and Iranian children at preschool age with respect to self-regulation abilities, which could influence their academic performance in the future. Accordingly, in the third step, Study 3 investigated self-regulation abilities of German and Iranian children at preschool age before the start of their formal education. Study 1 aimed to investigate the relationship between self-regulation and mathematics performance in young adults. In Study 1, different aspects of self-regulation and mathematics performance were tested in 40 undergraduate German students aged between 19 and 21, of whom 33 were female. The findings showed that behavioral self-regulation did not predict mathematics performance, however, self-control, as an aspect of self-regulation, had a significant positive relationship with the mathematics performance. The results suggested that the college students with greater self-control abilities might have a greater ability to concentrate on the task and suppress unwanted thoughts or distracting information, and hence responded faster to the mathematic problems. Altogether, the findings demonstrated that the previously discovered positive relationship between self-control and mathematics performance in children is also valid in young adults. Study 2 aimed to investigate the relationship between self-regulation and mathematics performance in young adults in two different countries (Germany and Iran). Self-regulation and mathematics performance were assessed in 44 Iranian college students and the results were compared with Study 1, which examined the same relationship in German college students. Self-regulation was assessed by the same measure used to assess self-control, as an aspect of self-regulation, in Study 1. Mathematics performance was measured by the same mathematics task used in Study 1. Moreover, the field of study of the students was also considered in this study. The findings of this study showed that self-regulation predicted mathematics performance only in German students and not in Iranian students. However, when the field of study was taken into account for Iranian students, self-regulation also predicted mathematics performance in the subgroup of Iranian students studying Human Sciences. Moreover, the relationship between self-regulation and mathematics performance in German students did not differ significantly from the whole Iranian group nor from the Iranian students of Human Sciences. In sum, the main results indicated that the relationship between self-regulation and mathematics performance is similar between German and Iranian college students when the effect of the field of study is considered. Study 3 aimed to investigate the self-regulation abilities of German and Iranian preschool children in a delay of gratification task. Self-regulation ability was assessed in 100 Iranian and 48 German preschool children. Self-regulation ability was operationalized both as performance and strategies (i.e., focusing, withholding, distracting) used by children in a delay of gratification paradigm (Mischel, 1989). Children’s behaviors while performing a delay of gratification task were video recorded and rated later with respect to the strategies that direct attention towards a reward and away from it. The results showed that German children waited longer than their Iranian peers in the delay of gratification task. Focusing strategies that directed attention towards the reward undermined the performance in the delay of gratification task in German but not Iranian children. Moreover, German children used more withholding strategies than their Iranian peers to stop themselves from touching the reward. These results suggest that self-regulation abilities in children might vary between different countries at preschool age. Altogether, these findings provide empirical evidence for the acknowledgment of the context-sensitivity of self-regulation, which has so far been little investigated. The results showed that self-regulation abilities differed between German and Iranian preschool children. However, the association between self-regulation and mathematics performance of young adults was similar in these countries when the field of study was taken into account.

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