Conscious Self-Regulation and Psychological Well-Being as Resources for Academic Success in Young Adolescents: A Structural Model



The problem of psychological resources of academic achievement is the actual problem of psychology and pedagogy. In the present study on the basis of V.I. Morosanova's resource approach to conscious self-regulation and the results of empirical researches the model of relationship between conscious self-regulation of academic goals achievement, psychological well-being and academic performance in young adolescence was verified. Sample: fifth grade students (N=234, mean age M=11,00, SD=0,28). Research methods: V.I. Morosanova's questionnaire "Self-regulation style of learning activity SSUD-M"; "Scale of manifestations of psychological well-being of adolescents"; "Big Five – child version"; "Attitude to learning in middle and high school". The model of academic success predictors describes the mutual determination of self-regulation, personality (Big Five), achievement motivation, and reveals the direction of cause-effect relationships between variables. It is shown that self-regulation, psychological well-being and achievement motivation are instrumental resources of academic performance. The high own contribution and strengthening of the influence of well-being and motivation on academic achievement provides it key role among its psychological resources. The findings are of practical importance for the organization of psychological support for the education of young adolescents during the transition to the secondary school.

General Information

Keywords: conscious self-regulation; psychological well-being; resources; academic achievement; early adolescence

Journal rubric: Developmental Psychology

Article type: scientific article


Received: 19.05.2023


For citation: Bondarenko I.N., Fomina T.G. Conscious Self-Regulation and Psychological Well-Being as Resources for Academic Success in Young Adolescents: A Structural Model [Elektronnyi resurs]. Psychological-Educational Studies, 2023. Vol. 15, no. 3, pp. 23–37. DOI: 10.17759/psyedu.2023150302.

Full text


The theoretical basis of the study is the resource approach to conscious self-regulation, which is based on the idea of self-regulation as a significant resource of a person setting and achieving subjectively accepted goals of activity. Self-regulation is realized through a system of regulatory competencies (setting goals, the modeling of significant conditions for their achievement, the programming of actions, the evaluation of results) and a specific set of regulatory-personal properties (flexibility, independence, reliability, responsibility), the individual originality of the development of which forms the overall level of self-regulation [5; 6]. Psychological well-being (PW) in this study is understood from the perspective of the eudemonistic approach, which allows to consider this phenomenon through the expression of such characteristics as self-acceptance, positive relationships, purposefulness, autonomy, etc. [24].

In the modern era of growing uncertainty, the mental well-being and health of students is a concern for parents, educators and psychologists. At the same time, the mastering of subject competencies is not losing its value. The problem of simultaneously maintaining psychological well-being and academic performance requires the attention of specialists and is becoming increasingly relevant. Research results leave no doubt that students with a high level of life satisfaction have a significant advantage over their peers with a low level of life satisfaction. This concerns, first of all, academic performance, engagement, academic self-efficacy and social adaptability [11; 28]. That is, we are talking about a harmonious combination of high performance and high psychological well-being, which, unfortunately, is not available to all students. Often excellent grades contradict psychological well-being and, moreover, are associated with its lower level [18]. Among the frequently cited reasons are increased academic pressure, a high importance of grades, the pace of learning, an overloaded curriculum, etc.

Academic achievement, while remaining the main integral indicator of school success, serves as a source of student satisfaction throughout all years of schooling and has a significant impact on the life of schoolchildren [4]. If earlier the circle of predictors of academic performance was delineated by various intellectual properties [22], nowadays it includes non-cognitive, emotional and situational factors [3]. There is a demand for research that focuses on psychological resources, the development and control of which in everyday school practice can lead not only to improved academic performance but also to increased well-being [27]. In scientific terms, this leads to the expansion of the range of studied variables that can act as predictors, mediators, and moderators of the relationship between academic performance and the well-being of students of different ages [12; 14].

It is shown that academic performance and well-being are determined by a large number of regulatory, motivational and personal factors, some of which are in the stage of development [1; 9; 16; 31]. That is why one of the main factors controlled during the transition from primary to secondary school is the age of the student. For example, in the 4th grade, personality traits that serve as the universal resources of psychological well-being and academic performance are: first of all, high extraversion and low neuroticism. In the fifth grade, the general level of conscious self-regulation becomes such a resource. We have previously shown that the underdevelopment of such special regulatory resources as cognitive regulatory competencies - programming, flexibility and responsibility - is a limitation to achieving high levels of performance and well-being. In the 5th grade, the role of personality traits remains, but their contribution is more significant in groups with a medium and low expression of the studied indicators. In 6th grade, the contribution of self-regulation and achievement motivation increases significantly [23]. In addition, Clarke showed that hedonistic (subjective) well-being is critically important for academic performance in elementary school, while eudemonic (psychological) well-being is critical for secondary school students [14].

In addition, depending on age, on the one hand, psychological well-being can be a significant factor in the development of self-regulation and be a resource for academic success, and on the other hand, self-regulation can be a resource for both well-being and academic success [23]. Similarly, at different age periods, psychological well-being can be both a significant predictor and a consequence of academic success [26]. It has been shown that despite the reciprocal nature of the relationship, the level of psychological well-being has more pronounced significant correlations with the specificity of self-regulation development than with indicators of academic performance [9].

The complex nature of relationships, the age factor, the presence of direct and mediating effects requires the construction of structural models that reflect the specificity of the mutual influences of the studied properties. The size of the variables' contributions to academic performance and well-being will allow for the identification of key factors that ensure the achievement of the goals set – the competence and health of students.

The purpose of this study is to substantiate the theoretical model of the relationship between conscious self-regulation of achieving academic goals, psychological well-being and academic performance of students, as well as the empirical verification of this model on a sample of younger adolescents (fifth graders). The choice of this group of respondents is explained by the difficulties of adaptation of fifth-graders to the known new developmental situation (an increase in the number of subjects, changes in the forms of interaction, increased requirements for discipline and self-organization). All these factors can have a negative impact on academic performance and well-being. In this case, it is important to identify the key resources for maintaining the studied properties. Thus, the theoretical basis for the development of this model is the following empirical evidence:

  • on the significant links of self-regulation with both psychological well-being and academic performance of learners;
  • on the reciprocal nature of the relationship between psychological well-being and academic performance at different stages of learning;
  • on the significant personal and motivational predictors of academic performance and well-being.

Research Methods

Multiscale questionnaire "Self-regulation style of learning activity SSUD-M (2017)" (V.I. Morosanova, I.N. Bondarenko); "The scale of manifestations of psychological well-being of adolescents" (R. Masse, C. Poulin, C. Dassa, J. Lambert, S. Belair, A. Battaglini) - adaptation of V.I. Morosanova, I.N. Bondarenko, T.G. Fomina (2018). Morosanova, I.N. Bondarenko, T.G. Fomina (2018); The “Big Five Questionnaire - Children version” (BFQ-C), Russian version adapted by S. B. Malykh, T.N. Fomina (2018). S.B. Malykh, T.N. Tikhomirova, G.M. Vasin (2015); the "Attitude towards learning in middle and high school" method (modification of the "Methodology of diagnostics of academic motivation and emotional attitude towards learning in middle and high school" by A.D. Andreeva, A.M. Prikhozhan).

Correlation analysis and structural equation modeling were used for statistical data processing. For the statistical analysis of data, we used the IBM SPSS Statistics software package, version 26: the analysis of primary statistics (mean values, standard deviations, etc.); correlation analysis; structural modeling was performed using the AMOS 23 program.

To evaluate the model, we used the following agreement indices and their permissible values for accepting the model as fitting the data: Chi-square / df<2; p>0.05; GFI>0.95; CFI>0.95; RMSEA<0.05; PCLOSE not lower than 0.1.

The study sample consisted of 5th grade students of municipal general education institutions of Moscow and Kaluga - 234 students (47% girls, mean age M=11.00, SD=0.28).

Earlier, on the basis of longitudinal data, we analyzed regulatory, personal and motivational predictors of academic performance in fourth and fifth grades for groups of students with different dynamics of psychological well-being. It was revealed that it is the instability of well-being that indicates the insufficient development of conscious self-regulation in pupils [7]. The creation of a general structural model of predictors of academic performance of fifth-graders summarizes the three-year study of the determinants of school success of younger adolescents. Correlation and regression relationships do not allow for the reflection of the complex nature of mutual determination of personality traits, motivation and self-regulation. Structural modeling offers an opportunity to identify the key resources for academic achievement and well-being based on the nature of variable relationships and the size of the contributions towards academic achievement.

Results of the Study

The model includes indicators correlated with psychological well-being and academic performance (see table). For clarity, the table presents data only on integral indicators. The existing correlations for individual scales are described in more detail in our articles published earlier [1].


Descriptive Statistics and Correlations Between Self-Regulation Indicators, Personality Traits, Motivation, Psychological Well-being and Academic Performance


M (SD)










1. Academic performance

4,28 (0,43)










2. Psychological well-being

93,94 (16,31)










3. Conscious self-regulation

29,78 (8,58)










4. Extraversion

34,89 (10,55)










5. Benevolence

37,39 (11,62)










6. Integrity

35,47 (11,80)










7. Neuroticism

23,81 (8,02)










8. Open-mindedness

37,03 (12,01)










9. Achievement motivation

18,99 (3,52)










Note: all correlation coefficients are significant at p≤0.01.

The model includes three latent variables: psychological well-being, self-regulation and personal properties (Personality) (see figure). We note high indices of the theoretical and empirical model (χ2/df=1.39; p=0.002; SFI=0.923; RMSEA=0.04; PCLOSE=0.846). It is shown that conscious self-regulation acts as a key property that determines school achievement. It contributes directly to academic performance (b =.18). Achievement motivation, psychological well-being, and personality traits, in turn, also make a significant contribution, but it is mediating. The mediating properties of self-regulation become evident in the relationship between personality and achievement. The direct contribution of personality traits does not exceed 10%, but, enhanced by self-regulation (b=0.54) and achievement motivation (b=0.16), becomes highly significant.

The only indicator showing negative correlations between variables in the model is neuroticism. Research shows that in the case of younger adolescents it can also be positive. The multidirectional contribution of anxiety to academic performance and the well-being of fifth-graders is shown: anxiety as a state has a negative impact on the studied constructs. At the same time, neuroticism as a personality disposition supports the significance of achieving high academic results [1]. At older ages, neuroticism makes a small positive contribution to academic performance, which indicates the learner's interest in the results of his/her efforts.

Fig. Regulatory and personality predictors of academic performance in younger adolescents

The contribution of personality traits to psychological well-being is insignificant (b=0.08). The contribution of conscious self-regulation is much more significant (b=0.62). Such indicators as Managing one's own personality and environment, Involvement in social interaction and Communication require the setting of goals, planning actions and the evaluation of achieved results, i.e., the active inclusion of basic regulatory competencies.

The created model allows us to demonstrate the direct contribution of psychological well-being to academic performance. We emphasize that it is quite correlated with the direct contributions of such non-cognitive predictors as motivation and self-regulation, which allows us to consider the well-being of schoolchildren as an important psychological resource.

Discussion of Results

Based on current data on the relationship between psychological well-being, academic performance, and self-regulation, the study proposed a model of their relationship in a sample of younger adolescents. Special attention to this age is determined by the observation that the cheerful enthusiasm of first graders is replaced by the relentless attempts of fifth- and sixth-graders to avoid the effort associated with studying in school. Taking intellectual abilities out of the equation, we set the task of creating a model that, in addition to the usual non-cognitive factors of academic performance - self-regulation and motivation - would also include psychological well-being as an integral emotional assessment of the efforts expended and results obtained.

As a result, a number of patterns have been established that are significant for understanding how the most important indicators of the quality of learning activity and positive functioning are determined at this age period within the framework of a single model.

The findings confirmed the existence of significant relationships between academic performance and psychological well-being. Meta-analyses show that in early adolescence (10-14 years old) there is usually a positive relationship between psychological well-being and academic performance, with various contextual conditions playing an important role [10]. Social interaction, teacher support, and the general psychological climate in the classroom are significant mediating factors [20]. However, there is a growing number of studies that clearly show the influence of self-regulation on both well-being and academic performance [9; 16; 30]. The created model also leaves no doubt in the universal resource role of conscious self-regulation in achieving high academic performance and psychological well-being in younger adolescents.

Another fact established in our study is the resource role of psychological well-being for academic performance of younger adolescents. In scientific literature there is much discussion on this issue [12; 14]. The main pathos of this discussion is in finding an answer to the question of what influences what: schoolchildren's well-being leads to higher academic performance or, on the contrary, academic performance is the basis of students' psychological well-being. Researchers propose a consensus: it is necessary to consider reciprocal relationships of these phenomena. Within the framework of the self-determination theory, it is substantiated that a high level of well-being contributes to increased motivation because academic success allows for the satisfaction of the basic need for competence in learners [20]. However, our model does not support this finding. It is likely that the significance of this relationship will manifest itself at later ages, which will require a separate study.

If we consider the dichotomy of the relationship between self-regulation and well-being, the following should also be taken into account. Conscious self-regulation is formed unevenly, gradually improving in various situations of achieving goals. Let us not forget that it is a complexly organized construct. Its cognitive components - planning, modeling, programming, and the evaluation of results - are formed quite early on the basis of its basic level, represented by executive functions (EF), i.e., regulatory mechanisms of the neurocognitive level. EFs represent a system of cognitive processes that ensure the achievement of significant goals in activity in complex dynamic conditions. Their common feature is their embeddedness in the activity of the prefrontal cortex sections of the brain [13]. Regulatory and personal properties, such as independence, reliability, perseverance, initiative, responsibility, are formed much later, closer to adolescence, and, the whole system of self-regulation, accordingly, cannot avoid the effects of heterogeneity and heterochrony of development.

Experimental studies give the grounds to believe that the development of self-regulation competencies and the regulatory resources realizing them is an effective approach to develop strategies for improving the psychological well-being of students and the prevention of psychological problems during the period of personal formation and development.

Let's not forget that in early adolescence there is a drop in academic motivation, which inevitably leads to a decline in academic performance, which cannot but affect well-being [21; 31]. Despite this, regulatory resources act as a reliable predictor of both academic performance and PW of adolescents [9; 17], acting as a kind of "stabilizer" of academic motivation, which overcomes qualitative changes during this period. Externally motivated behavior, represented by the motivation of parental respect, introjected and externalized motivation, is replaced by internal motivation - cognitive, self-development and self-esteem motivation. According to researchers' data, it is necessary to take into account the significant changes that have occurred both in the structure and form of motivation of modern schoolchildren and in the mechanisms of its contribution to academic success. Thus, it is shown that the leading motive of schoolchildren is the desire to get good grades, but this motivation is not uniquely related to academic achievement. In addition, in general, a negative dynamic of learning motivation of modern children has been found, which is expressed in a decrease in cognitive activity, the levels of perceived controllability, self-efficacy, involvement, etc. [2]. That is why we found a mediating significant contribution of achievement motivation in the data of our study. This once again confirms the fact that motivation without the "support" of the regulatory resource cannot fully ensure goal achievement. We note that if we draw parallels with professional activity, we can consider the job satisfaction of professionals as an analog of the psychological well-being of students. Such professionals are characterized by better physical and mental health, they master professional skills and abilities faster, more often demonstrate samples of active social and civic behavior [8]. They are characterized by a higher motivation to work, high productivity and involvement in work with pleasure from the process and the results of work [26]. It is in the age of younger adolescence that these complex relationships are laid down, which in the future will be the basis for the successful and harmonious in terms of the balance of work and leisure in professional development.

Thus, the created and empirically verified model confirms the theoretical principle that conscious self-regulation in early adolescence acts as a meta-resource for the success of learning activities and other important indicators of life activity and is a necessary condition for maintaining the psychological well-being of adolescents in this difficult age period.


The results of the study of the relationship of psychological well-being, motivation and conscious self-regulation of younger adolescents with academic success were summarized. Based on the available contemporary data of cross-sectional studies, a structural model that specifies the particular qualities of mutual determination of these constructs, and which reveals the direction of causal relationships, was proposed. It was found that conscious self-regulation is a necessary significant resource for maintaining both academic performance and the well-being of adolescents. The resource role of psychological well-being and achievement motivation in relation to academic achievement was also revealed, which may reflect a peculiar social situation of development characteristic to younger adolescents and caused by the particular qualities of the transitional stage of education (from primary to secondary school). The high personal contribution of conscious self-regulation to academic performance and its mediatory effects, which enhance the influence of well-being and motivation, provide it with a key role among the psychological resources of academic performance. The findings are valuable for planning practical work with younger adolescents aimed at supporting academic motivation, psychological well-being and academic performance.


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Information About the Authors

Irina N. Bondarenko, PhD in Psychology, Leading Researcher, Department of Psychology of Self-regulation, Psychological Institute of the Russian Academy of Education,, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:

Tatiana G. Fomina, PhD in Psychology, Leading Researcher, Department of Psychology of Self-regulation, Psychological Institute of the Russian Academy of Education, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:



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