Longitudinal association between children’s mastery motivation and cognitive school readiness: Executive functioning and social–emotional competence as potential mediators

Wing Kai FUNG, Kevin Kien Hoa CHUNG

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Abstract

This study investigated the direct relationships between kindergarten children's object and social mastery motivation and future cognitive school readiness and the indirect relationships mediated through executive functioning and social–emotional competence in the school context. The participants were 103 Hong Kong kindergarten children (45.6% girls; mean age = 60.4 months) and their teachers. The teachers reported the children's demographic information and object and social mastery motivation at Time 1 (in the middle of the school year). They rated the children's executive functioning, social–emotional competence and cognitive school readiness at Time 2 (at the end of the school year). The results from the path analysis model revealed that the children's object mastery motivation at Time 1, but not their social mastery motivation, directly predicted their cognitive school readiness at Time 2. The indirect relationships between (a) object mastery motivation at Time 1 and cognitive school readiness at Time 2 mediated through executive functioning (indirect effect: β =.32, SE =.05, p <.001) and (b) social mastery motivation at Time 1 and cognitive school readiness at Time 2 mediated through social–emotional competence (indirect effect: β =.09, SE =.03, p <.01) were significant. The findings highlight the differential roles of object and social mastery motivation in predicting children's cognitive school readiness and propose children's executive functioning and social–emotional competence as processes mediating the relationships. The results also suggest the desirability of providing kindergarten children with extensive play opportunities and materials to support their mastery motivation and cognitive school readiness. Copyright © 2023 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105712
JournalJournal of Experimental Child Psychology
Volume234
Early online dateJun 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2023

Citation

Fung, W. K., & Chung, K. K. H. (2023). Longitudinal association between children’s mastery motivation and cognitive school readiness: Executive functioning and social–emotional competence as potential mediators. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 234, Article 105712. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jecp.2023.105712

Keywords

  • Object mastery motivation
  • Social mastery motivation
  • Executive functioning
  • Social–emotional competence
  • Cognitive school readiness
  • Kindergarten children

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