Understanding Adolescent Shame and Pride in a School Context: The Impact of Perceived Academic Competence and a Growth Mindset.

Assignment type: Thesis
Author: Ellen Cook
Submitted: June 2015


Shame has important implications in educational contexts for educators, children and young people. The first paper presented here is a review of the current literature on shame and explores the implications of this self-conscious achievement emotion within educational contexts. The systematic literature review demonstrated that shame experiences can have both a dysfunctional and functional role, are independent of acculturation status and are influenced by parental attitudes. Crucially, shame management can reduce bullying within schools. The review concludes by drawing attention to implications of these findings for educators and educational psychologists.

The second paper reports empirical research carried out in the field of self-conscious achievement emotions. This study investigated whether holding a growth (intelligence) mindset could reduce shame experiences and/or promote pride experiences, within a secondary school context. The study also focused on the role of perceived academic competence (i.e. the perception that one has sufficient skills and knowledge) on young people’s feelings of shame and pride. Secondary school students (N = 121, Mage = 14.3 years) completed the Scale of Personal Conceptions of Intelligence to measure their mindset, and then completed a 10-day online diary, to rate their daily shame and/or pride experiences. Participants also rated their daily perceptions of academic competence. Results revealed a negative relation between growth mindset and daily shame intensity, and a positive relation between growth mindset and daily pride intensity. Both associations were mediated by perceived academic competence. That is, a growth mindset predicted increased perceived academic competence, which, in turn, predicted reduced shame and increased pride. The findings have far-reaching implications for educators. This research also makes a novel connection between growth mindset, perceived academic competence and self-conscious emotions within a school setting.

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