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The main objectives of the present research were to test a conceptual model linking motivational processes involved in coping with the stress of university assessment, and to examine gender differences in these processes. Self-determined motivation was hypothesized to predict coping strategies and the response to assessment-related stress, and coping was hypothesized to play a considerable role in short- and long-term outcomes of assessment. We examined this model using multiple group path analysis. In Study 1 (N = 265), music students’ use of engagement-coping strategies led to stronger musical career intentions, while disengagement-coping strategies led to weaker intentions. In Study 2 (N = 340), students’ increased use of engagement coping, and decreased use of disengagement coping strategies led to higher grades, higher positive affect and lower negative affect. In both studies, engagement and disengagement-coping were predicted by autonomous and controlled motivation, respectively. Motivation also indirectly predicted academic outcomes through stress appraisal and coping. While women experienced higher levels of stress, men were more negatively affected by the use of disengagement-oriented coping. Gender differences were also found on the links between engagement-oriented coping and outcomes. These results fill an important gap in the literature regarding gender differences in the outcomes coping in education, as well as contributing to a better understanding of the processes linking motivation, coping and academic outcomes.


Institute for Positive Psychology and Education

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Journal Article

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