Although the research literature has established that Conscientiousness predicts task performance across a variety of achievement contexts (e.g., ; ), comparatively less is known about the processes that underlie these relations. To the latter end, the current research examines effortful strategies and achievement goals as mediating factors that might explain why people with higher levels of Conscientiousness are predicted to reach higher levels of academic performance. In a longitudinal study, 347 college students completed measures of personality and achievement goals at the beginning of the class, followed by measures of effortful strategies multiple times throughout the semester. Results support the hypothesis that effortful strategies mediate the association between Conscientiousness and academic performance. Moreover, the statistical effects of Conscientiousness were generally independent of achievement goals, but a small portion of the effect was mediated through approach, not avoidance, achievement goals. These results highlight the importance of examining mediating processes between personality and outcomes, and in the case of Conscientiousness, our results suggest that effortful strategies might serve as a useful target for performance-enhancing interventions.
Conscientiousness in the classroom: a process explanation.Journal of Personality
Citation InformationCorker, K. S., Oswald, F. L., & Donnellan, M. B. (2012). Conscientiousness in the classroom: A process explanation. Journal of Personality, 80, 993-1026