The mediating role of self-exertion on the effects of effort on learning virtues and emotional distress in academic failure in a confucian context

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Abstract

© 2017 Fwu, Chen, Wei and Wang. Previous studies have found that in East Asian Confucian societies, hardworking students are often trapped in a dilemma of enjoying a positive moral image while suffering from emotional distress due to academic failure. This study intends to further explore whether the cultural-specific belief in self-exertion acts as a psychological mechanism to lessen these students' negative emotions. A group of 288 college students in Taiwan were administered a questionnaire to record their responses to past academic failures. The results from structural equation modeling showed that self-exertion functioned as a mediator between the effects of effort on learning virtues and emotional distress. Self-exertion to fulfill one's duty to oneself positively mediated the effect of effort on learning virtues, whereas self-exertion to fulfill one's duty to one's parents negatively mediated the effect of effort on emotional distress. Theoretical and cultural implications are further discussed.

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Fwu, B. J., Chen, S. W., Wei, C. F., & Wang, H. H. (2017). The mediating role of self-exertion on the effects of effort on learning virtues and emotional distress in academic failure in a confucian context. Frontiers in Psychology, 7(JAN). https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2016.02047

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