This study investigated whether there is a discrepancy pertaining to trait and state academic emotions and whether self-concept of ability moderates this discrepancy. A total of 225 secondary school students from two different countries enrolled in grades 8 and 11 (German sample; n = 94) and grade 9 (Swiss sample; n = 131) participated. Students' trait academic emotions of enjoyment, pride, anger, and anxiety in mathematics were assessed with a self-report questionnaire, whereas to assess their state academic emotions experience-sampling method was employed. The results revealed that students' scores on the trait assessment of emotions were generally higher than their scores on the state assessment. Further, as expected, students academic self-concept in the domain of mathematics was shown to partly explain the discrepancy between scores on trait and state emotions. Our results indicate that there is a belief-driven discrepancy between what students think they feel (trait assessment) and what they really feel (state assessment). Implications with regard to the assessment of self-reported emotions in future studies and practical implications for the school context are discussed.
Bieg M, Goetz T, Lipnevich AA (2014) What Students Think They Feel Differs from What They Really Feel – Academic Self-Concept Moderates the Discrepancy between Students’ Trait and State Emotional Self-Reports. PLoS ONE 9(3): e92563. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0092563