The Relationship between Executive Functions and Self-Regulated Academic Learning Regarding the Mediating Role of Metacognition and Working Memory among University Students

Document Type: Original Article


1 PhD Candidate, Department of Psychology, Shahid Chamran University of Ahvaz, Ahvaz, Iran

2 Department of Psychology, Shahid Chamran University of Ahvaz, Ahvaz, Iran



Today, education experts mostly aim to detect significant causal variables leading to students’ achievements in educational settings. The present study aimed to investigate the relationship between executive functions and self-regulated academic learning regarding the mediating role of metacognition and working memory among university students. This research was a correlational study using structural equation modeling. The statistical population included of all students of Shahid Chamran University of Ahvaz in the academic year 2018-2019. A total of 351 students were selected by multi-stage cluster random sampling. The research instrument included the Metacognitions Questionnaire (MCQ-30), Cognitive Abilities Questionnaire, the Self-Regulation Questionnaire (SRQ), and the Test of Information Processing Skills (TIPS). The collected data were analyzed using structural equation modeling. The findings revealed no significant and direct relationship between executive functions and self-regulated academic learning (P>0.05). However, there was a significant and direct relationship between executive functions with metacognition and working memory (P<0.01). Moreover, a significant relationship was observed between metacognition and working memory with academic self-regulated academic learning (P<0.01). In this regard, metacognition and working memory fully mediated the relationship between executive functions and self-regulated academic learning. The study findings provide university students and experts with an appropriate model since, as the theoretical foundations of the proposed model documented, academic achievement and well-being are mainly dependent on executive functions. Accordingly, metacognitive skills, including self-regulated academic learning, can be improved by promoting the executive functions among university students.


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