Paper Title
The Impact of Academic Anxiety on Students’ Learning Experience

Academic anxiety has been found to be negatively related to learning experience at all ages (e.g. McGrath et al., 2015; Townsend et al., 1998). The relationship is likely because high levels of anxiety can; (1) manifest in a wide range of symptoms, including disturbed sleep patterns, tiredness, worry, irregular eating habits, increased infections, and inability to concentrate; (2) cause inattentive blindness to misread test questions and therefore answer incorrectly; and (3) cause ‘psychophysiological desynchronization’ which inhibits brain processes necessary for functions such as attention, memory recall, abstract reasoning, problem solving, and creativity (e.g. Most et al., 2005; Ratey, 2001). Therefore, the broader psychological setting in which university students function must be understood. However, there is a paucity of research to examine how psychological mediators affecting university students’ learning experience or anxiety in a non-western context. Drawing on the Self-Determination Theory (SDT), we apply structural equation modeling to empirically test the model using data collected from a Hong Kong university. This study aims to examine how psychological mediators influence students’ academic performance and which is more closely related to students’ learning experiences. Students reported on their perceptions of teacher emotional support, cooperative learning environment, statistics self-concept, self-efficacy and anxiety. Consistent with the Self-Determination Theory (SDT), results indicate that: (1) students’ academic self-concept is significantly related to students’ learning experiences; and (2) students’ academic self-efficacy is only significantly related to students’ academic performance. This empirical study contributes to the current literature that academic self-concept was found to be a more important psychological mediator than self-efficacy. Teacher should enhance students’ academic self-concept directly to improve students’ learning experiences. We suggest that teacher should put more emotional support, which in turn, can create a psychologically calm and satisfied learning environment for university students. (289 words) Keywords- Anxiety: Learning Experiences: The Self-Determination Theory: Structural Equation Modeling