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Influences Of Different Dimensions Of Academic Self-Concept On Students’ Cardiac Recovery After Giving A Stressful Presentation

Authors Wimmer S, Lackner HK, Papousek I, Paechter M

Received 17 June 2019

Accepted for publication 16 August 2019

Published 7 November 2019 Volume 2019:12 Pages 1031—1040


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Mei-chun Cheung

Sigrid Wimmer,1 Helmut K Lackner,2 Ilona Papousek,3 Manuela Paechter1

1Educational Psychology Unit, Department of Psychology, University of Graz, Graz 8010, Austria; 2Otto Loewi Research Center, Division of Physiology, Medical University of Graz, Graz 8010, Austria; 3Biological Psychology Unit, Department of Psychology, University of Graz, Graz 8010, Austria

Correspondence: Sigrid Wimmer
Educational Psychology Unit, Department of Psychology, University of Graz, Universitaetsplatz 2, Graz 8010, Austria
Tel +43 316 380 8483

Purpose: Giving a presentation in a seminar is a strenuous academic situation. To meet such a challenge adequately, individuals not only have to activate their mental and physical resources, but they also have to disengage from the task and recover once the challenge has been met. How students experience these situations depends in part on how they recover from the stress, and this has putative impact on their longer-term academic well-being.
Methods: In a sample of 68 university students, the present study investigated the impact of four dimensions of students’ academic self-concept on how efficiently students recovered after a challenging presentation in a university seminar. Recovery was assessed using psychophysiological measures; heart rate and heart rate variability were investigated. Higher levels of students’ social self-concept (self-concept depending on social comparison) were linked to poorer recovery from the challenge, whereas higher levels of absolute self-concept (independent of external criteria) were associated with more efficient recovery.
Results: The findings suggest that a focus on one’s own abilities (ie, internal performance standard) is linked to more adaptive patterns of responses to challenging situations, while the focus on social comparisons seems to hamper adaptive coping with academic stress.
Conclusion: These findings have consequences not only for learning and instruction but also for students’ health and well-being.

Keywords: self-concept, social comparison, achievement situation, heart rate, heart rate variability

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