Background/Context: For many children, doing homework becomes an emotionally charged event and one of the most disappointing aspects of school life. It is surprising to note, however, that homework emotion management is noticeably absent from much contemporary homework literature.
Purpose: The primary propose of the present study was to propose and test empirical models of variables posited to predict homework emotion management at the secondary school level, with the models informed by (a) research and theory on emotion regulation and (b) findings from homework research that alluded to a number of factors that may influence homework emotion management. Another purpose of the present study was to examine whether homework emotion management is related to homework completion, one of the major outcome variables in the homework process.
Research Design: The study reported here used cross-sectional survey data. The participants were 1,895 students from 111 classes in the southeastern United States, including 1,046 eighth graders from 63 classes and 849 11th graders from 48 classes.
Results: Results from the multilevel analyses revealed that most of the variance in homework emotion management occurred at the student level, with grade level appearing as the only significant predictor at the class level. At the student level, the variation in homework emotion management was positively associated with teacher feedback, peer-oriented reasons for doing homework, arranging the environment, managing time, and monitoring motivation. Girls reported statistically significant higher scores in managing homework emotion than did boys. Follow-up analyses further revealed that homework emotion management was positively associated with homework completion.
Conclusion: As most of the variance in homework emotion management occurred at the student level rather than at the class level, homework emotion management was largely a function of individual student characteristics and experiences. The present study further suggests that monitoring motivation and managing time play a predominant role in homework emotion management (compared with other variables included in the present study). Consequently, there is a critical need to conceptualize these variables in the process of emotion regulation in general, and in homework emotion management in particular. In addition, there is a critical need for secondary schools to strategically engage students in the homework process to better manage their emotion while doing homework.