Opening minds by supporting needs: do autonomy and competence support facilitate mindfulness and academic performance?

Robert J. Goodman, Stephen K. Trapp, Ernest S. Park, Jody L. Davis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In a pair of studies, the present research examined mindfulness as a mediator through which perceived support for the basic psychological needs of autonomy and competence facilitate adaptive outcomes in a university classroom setting. In Study 1 (N = 199), dispositional mindfulness mediated the relation between perceived support for autonomy and competence in daily life and generalized test anxiety in college students. In Study 2 (N = 328), perceived support for autonomy and competence in the classroom predicted higher test performance and instructor evaluations among college students. Notably, perceived support for autonomy and competence in the classroom predicted increased state mindfulness minutes before a final exam, which in turn was associated with less test anxiety and better test performance, even after controlling for past academic achievement. In summary, instructor support of students’ basic needs for autonomy and competence in the classroom context predicted heightened states of mindful awareness prior to a final exam, which explained improvements in academic performance among students. This research represents a first step toward identifying situational factors that facilitate mindful awareness in academic contexts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)119-142
Number of pages24
JournalSocial Psychology of Education
Volume24
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2021

Keywords

  • Academic performance
  • Basic psychological needs
  • Mindfulness
  • Self-determination
  • Test anxiety

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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