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Optimistic and Defensive-Pessimist Students: Differences in their Academic Motivation and Learning Strategies

  • José Manuel Suárez Riveiro (a1)

In addition to cognitive and behavioral strategies, students can also use affective-motivational strategies to facilitate their learning process. In this way, the strategies of defensive-pessimism and generation of positive expectations have been widely related to conceptual models of pessimism-optimism. The aim of this study was to describe the use of these strategies in 1753 secondary school students, and to study the motivational and strategic characteristics which differentiated between the student typologies identified as a result of their use. The results indicated a higher use of the generation of positive expectations strategy (optimism) (M = 3.40, SD = .78) than the use of the defensive pessimism strategy (M = 3.00, SD = .78); a positive and significant correlation between the two strategies (r = .372, p = .001); their relationship with adequate academic motivation and with the use of learning strategies. Furthermore, four student typologies were identified based on the use of both strategies. Lastly, we propose a new approach for future work in this line of research.

Corresponding author
*Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to José Manuel Suárez Riveiro. Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED). Facultad de Educación. C/ Juan del Rosal, 14. 28040. Madrid (Spain). E-mail:
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The Spanish Journal of Psychology
  • ISSN: 1138-7416
  • EISSN: 1988-2904
  • URL: /core/journals/spanish-journal-of-psychology
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