Kruglanski et al. (
Keywords: Academic performanceSelf-regulationPerceived stress
According to the Self-regulation theory (Kruglanski et al., 2000), individuals implement two
modes or strategies of self-regulation, that is, locomotion and assessment, to reach any goal-directed
activity. The locomotion mode refers to “the aspect of self-regulation concerned with movement from
state to state and with committing the psychological resources that will initiate and maintain goal-related
movement”, whereas the assessment mode “constitutes the comparative aspect of self-regulation
concerned with critically evaluating entities or states, such as goals or means, in relation to alternatives in
order to judge relative quality” (Kruglanski et al., 2000, p. 794). These motivational components are
thought as interdependent aspects, which may receive different emphasis by different persons and in
different situations (Pierro, Pica, Mauro, Kruglanski, & Higgins, 2012). In this sense, they are considered
as individual trait or state (Avnet & Higgings, 2003) that can influence daily life activities (Orehek,
Mauro, Kruglanski, & van der Bles, 2012; Orehek, & Vazeou-Nieuwenhuis, 2013). Previous research has
shown the association between the self-regulatory modes and many aspects of goal pursuit, such as
procrastination, perseverance, time management, academic achievement, etc. (Chernikova, Lo Destro,
Mauro, Pierro, Kruglanski, & Higgins, 2016). For example, locomotion was negatively associated with
procrastination, that is, high locomotors tend to complete a task as quickly as possible and exhibit a
greater ability to focus on a task without becoming distracted. On the contrary, assessment was positively
correlated with procrastination: high assessors tend to procrastinate on tasks, are slower and more
accurate in completing them, and care about potential mistakes during the task performance or the goal
pursuit (Kruglanski et., 2000; Mauro, Pierro, Mannetti, Higgins, & Kruglanski, 2009; Pierro,
Giacomantonio, Pica, Kruglanski, & Higgins, 2011).
Further studies have assumed that both locomotion and assessment are necessary for successful
task performance (Kruglanski, Pierro, Mannetti, & Higgins, 2013; Lo Destro, Chernikova, Pierro,
Kruglanski, & Higgins, 2015). Findings gave evidence that cross-level complementarity resulted better in
individual (Pierro et al., 2012) and in group performances (Mauro et al., 2009). Moreover, Lo Destro et
al. (2015) have found differences in self-regulation modes in relation to the level of task complexity, i.e.,
high locomotion alone is sufficient to ensure a good performance on simple tasks, whereas both high
locomotion and assessment are necessary for an optimal performance on complex tasks. In other words,
as simple tasks do not require much information processing for a successful performance, they can be
performed better by carrying out them speedily, thus a high assessment is not advantageous. Instead,
complex tasks need a more extensive information processing as well as a speed performance, thus both
high locomotion and high assessment are necessary (Lo Destro et al., 2015).
Locomotion and assessment self-regulatory modes have been also linked to well-being. Past
research has revealed positive correlations between locomotion and psychological vitality, self-esteem,
and optimism, and between assessment and low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, and ruminative
tendencies (Kruglanski et al., 2000; Shalev & Sulkowski, 2009). That is, assessment-oriented persons
tend to evaluate oneself constantly fostering a sense of inadequacy, negative emotions, lower self-esteem,
and less optimism. Conversely, locomotion implies activation, proactivity, and forward-striving, thus
providing more positive emotions, higher optimism, and self-confidence (Jimmefors, Garcia, Rosenberg,
Mousavi, Adrianson, & Archer, 2014; Kruglanski, Pierro, Higgins, & Capozza, 2007). In this way, the
type of self-regulatory strategy seems to affect emotions, life satisfaction, and psychological well-being
(Jimmefors et al., 2014).
Generally, empirical research has focused on the relationship between self-regulatory processes,
well-being, and academic performance, but instead, there is too scarce attention on the link between well-
being and academic performance.
Academic performance was hypothesized to be predicted positively by both locomotion and
assessment and negatively by the tendency to perceive life events as stressful.
Purpose of the Study
On the basis of these considerations, the current study aimed at investigating how academic
performance was affected by individual differences in self-regulation modes and well-being in terms of
Participants and procedure
The sample was composed of 492 Italian high school graduates (
�The Locomotion and Assessment Scale (LAS; Kruglanski et al., 2000) was used to assess
individual differences in self-regulation. The scale is made of two 12-item subscales designed
to measure locomotion (e.g., “I am a doer”, “When I get started on something I usually
persevere until I finish it”) and assessment (e.g., “I spend a great deal of time taking inventory
of my positive and negative characteristics”, “I am a critical person”). Respondents rate on a
6-Likert scale (from 1 = strongly disagree to 6 = strongly agree) the extent to which they agree
with each item. The scale showed good internal consistency with Cronbach’s alpha of .63 for
Locomotion and .67 for Assessment.
�The Perceived Stress Scale (PSS; Cohen, Kamarck, & Mermelstein, 1983) assesses “the degree
to which situations in individuals’ life are perceived as stressful” (p. 385). The instrument
consists of 10 items rated on a five-point Likert scale from 1 = never to 5 = very often,
covering the preceding month (“In the last month, how often have you felt nervous and
“stressed”?”, “In the last month, how often have you felt that you were on top of things?”). The
scale is monodimensional. Higher scores indicate higher levels of perceived stress. The scale
showed high levels of internal consistency with Cronbach’s alpha of .82.
Academic performance was assessed by calculating the grade point average (GDA) for the first
Correlation and regression analyses were performed using SPSS 20.0 for Windows to reach the
aims of the present research.
Descriptive statistics (mean and standard deviations) of the variables taken account are reported in
the scales scores. Results showed statistically significant differences between men and women in the
GDA, t(403.173) = -3.057, p < .01, and perceived stress, t(490) = -5.59, p < .001. More specifically,
females obtained higher scores than males in both variables. However, these results could be biased by
the higher percentage of women in the sample
Correlational analyses were run to analyze the association between the variables of interest.
Results revealed that the GDA was positively related to locomotion (r = .17,
association emerged between locomotion and perceived stress (r = -.24,
significant correlation with perceived stress (r = -.07,
Further analyses using stepwise linear regressions (forward techniques) showed that only
locomotion had a significant effect on GDA (β = .61,
assessment. Hence, as expected, the main predictor of academic performance seems to be locomotion.
However, the unexpected absence of causal relationship between assessment, perceived stress, and
academic performance should be further analyzed.
As perceived stress was significantly associated with locomotion and assessment, a regression
analysis was further performed considering self-regulations modes as predictors and perceived stress as
the outcome in order to better understand the nature of this relationship. As expected, perceived stress
was predicted positively by assessment (β = .26,
The purpose of the current research was to investigate the impact of self-regulated orientations and
perceived stress on academic performance. Consistently with the hypothesized predictions, findings
suggested that self-regulatory modes, i.e., locomotion and assessment, were associated to perceived stress
and GDA, even though the correlation coefficients were rather low. However, the relationship between
locomotion and task performance was stronger than the relationship between assessment and task
performance. Surprisingly, perceived stress showed no association with GDA. Regression analyses
revealed that students’ academic performance was positively predicted only by locomotion, partially
confirming past research which highlighted the role of the self-regulatory modes in successful task
performance (Kruglanski et al., 2013; Lo Destro et al., 2015). In other words, the way students performed
academically seemed to depend by the self-regulatory aspect related to the movement and the engagement
of psychological resources in initiating and maintaining an activity. According to some research,
individuals high in locomotion exhibit a greater ability to focus on a task without getting distracted
(Pierro et al., 2011), manage better their time (Amato, Pierro, Chirumbolo, & Pica, 2014), tend to
complete a task quickly (Kruglanski et al., 2000; Mauro et al., 2009), and take less time to finish
proofreading tasks (Kruglanski et al., 2000). The higher academic performance in this study could be
influenced by those individual differences in the self-regulatory strategy of locomotion.
Of particular interest, self-regulatory orientations significantly predicted perceived stress . That is,
the degree to which participants perceived life situations as stressful was determined by the way they
regulated their goal-related activities. Specifically, those who were high on assessment, tend to perceive
life events as unpredictable, uncontrollable, and overloaded, whereas high locomotors were more able to
handle these situations.
In sum, the present research provided initial efforts to analyze the relationship between self-
regulation processes and perceived stress. However, some limitations should be noted. First, as a self-
report measure, the questionnaire could be influenced by biases. Second, as this investigation dealt only
with a specific indicator of the academic performance, i.e., GDA, future research should replicate and
extend the study including further related constructs.Please replace this text with context of your paper.
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08 May 2017
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Psychology, clinical psychology, psychotherapy, abnormal psychology
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Bellino, F., Sinatra, M., de Palo, V., & Monacis, L. (2017). How Self-Regulatory Modes And Perceived Stress Affect Academic Performance. In Z. Bekirogullari, M. Y. Minas, & R. X. Thambusamy (Eds.), Clinical & Counselling Psychology - CPSYC 2017, vol 22. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 26-31). Future Academy. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2017.05.4