Linking Students' Emotions and Academic Achievement: When and Why Emotions Matter

Carlos Valiente, Jodi Swanson, Nancy Eisenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

221 Scopus citations


Few studies include associations of emotions, or of individual differences in emotionality, to academic competence, and there are virtually no empirical data on when or why relations exist (or do not exist). The few studies of emotion and achievement have largely focused on anxiety, but there has been scant theoretical and empirical attention devoted to the treatment of other emotions. It is suggested that considering the moderated and indirect effects of students' emotions on their academic functioning may provide an understanding of whether and under what circumstances emotions are related to achievement. This article briefly reviews findings linking situational and dispositional negative or positive emotions to academic achievement and suggests that researchers can learn much about relations between emotions and achievement by considering the potential moderating role of effortful control, as well as considering the mediating roles that cognitive processes, motivational mechanisms, and classroom relationships play in linking emotions and achievement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)129-135
Number of pages7
JournalChild Development Perspectives
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2012


  • Academic achievement
  • Effortful control
  • Emotion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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