In This Chapter

Control-Value Theory and Students 
with Special Needs

Achievement Emotion Disorders and Their Links to 
Behavioral Disorders and Academic Difficulties

Authored by: Reinhard Pekrun , Kristina Loderer

Handbook of Educational Psychology and Students with Special Needs

Print publication date:  February  2020
Online publication date:  February  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138295421
eBook ISBN: 9781315100654
Adobe ISBN:


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Many students suffer from excessive negative emotions, a lack of positive emotions, or dysfunctional emotion regulation related to learning and achievement. This includes emotional problems below the threshold of clinical diagnosis as well as psychopathological disorders in students diagnosed for emotional needs. These emotional problems jeopardize students’ educational careers and health, can contribute to other (e.g., behavioral) disorders, and may also contribute to the unacceptable numbers of suicide attempts among students. In this chapter, we outline implications of Pekrun’s control-value theory of achievement emotions (CVT) for conceptualizing, understanding, and treating achievement-related emotional problems. We first define achievement emotion and outline the role of these emotions for emotional and behavioral disorders. We introduce the term achievement emotion disorder to denote problems with these emotions that are out of proportion relative to the events they relate to, persist over time, distress students, and impair their functioning, such as excessive test anxiety and excessive boredom. We also discuss the role of achievement emotions for generalized anxiety disorder, depressive disorders, and behavioral disorders. Next, we outline propositions of CVT for the appraisal antecedents of achievement emotions. We argue that biases in control and value appraisals are likely to be major causes of achievement emotion disorders and highlight the role of lack-of-control bias, lack-of-value bias, and excessive-negative-value bias. Subsequently, we discuss implications of CVT for the role of gender and environmental risk factors. We then address the impact of achievement emotions and related disorders on students’ learning, academic performance, and nonacademic behaviors. We go on to discuss ways to prevent or reduce achievement emotion disorders and increase mental health through emotion regulation, psychotherapy, classroom intervention, and educational practices. In conclusion, we outline directions for future research.

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