An investigation of pathways to academic amotivation and reactive aggression among high school students: Domain specificity or multifinality?

Isaiah B Pickens, Fordham University

Abstract

Prior research has established that youth who endorse maladaptive cognitive patterns reflecting rigid beliefs and interpretations of self and others are at increased risk for enacting reactive aggression and academic amotivation. Furthermore, attribution theory represents a unifying framework for identifying cognitive antecedents to these behaviors, while empirical research supports the interrelatedness of aggression and poor academic outcomes among youth. Based on these findings, the present study investigated the predictive validity of domain-congruent and cross-domain cognitive antecedents for reactive aggression and academic amotivation using data obtained from a community sample of 189 adolescents. For the reactive aggression domain, hostile schemas and hostile attribution bias represented beliefs and situation-specific attributions contributing to the enactment of reactive aggression. For the academic amotivation domain, academic possible selves and academic learned helplessness represented beliefs and situation-specific attributions contributing to the enactment of academic amotivation. Of primary interest was the incremental validity of multiple cognitive antecedents in predicting cross-domain effects after accounting for domain specific predictors. Using structural equation modeling, four models were tested to explore domain-congruent and cross-domain relationships between cognitive antecedents and behavioral outcomes. Two independent models specifying domain-congruent cognitive antecedents for reactive aggression and academic amotivation were tested. Two additional models accounting for domain-congruent and cross-domain relationships by combining independent reactive aggression and academic amotivation models were tested. Results indicated that hostile schemas was a robust positive predictor for reactive aggression, while hostile attribution bias failed to mediate this association. Domain-specific cognitive antecedents were not predictive of academic amotivation. Cross-domain relationships between cognitive antecedents and behavioral outcomes were not supported Implications for assessment and interventions include increasing screening for hostile schemas, utilizing domain-specific strategies for targeting reactive aggression and academic amotivation, and focusing greater resources on targeting global beliefs that contribute to maladaptive behavioral outcomes. ^

Subject Area

Psychology, Social|Education, Educational Psychology|Psychology, Developmental

Recommended Citation

Isaiah B Pickens, "An investigation of pathways to academic amotivation and reactive aggression among high school students: Domain specificity or multifinality?" (January 1, 2011). ETD Collection for Fordham University. Paper AAI3495894.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI3495894

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