Why Do Larks Perform Better At School Than Owls? The Mediating Effect Of Conscientiousness
Circadian preference refers to individuals’ preference for morning or evening activities. Its two dimensions (i.e., morningness and eveningness) are related to a number of academic outcomes. While morningness shows positive relations with academic achievement, eveningness shows negative relations. Further, morningness and eveningness show the same correlational pattern with conscientiousness (i.e., positive relations for morningness, negative relations for eveningness), which – in turn – predicts academic achievement. Therefore, the main aim of the present study was to investigate if the relation between circadian preference and academic achievement was mediated by conscientiousness. The sample comprised 422 students attending the 11th grade at a grammar school in Germany. Circadian preference (morningness and eveningness) and conscientiousness were assessed by self-report questionnaires; academic achievement was operationalized by school grades. Using confirmatory analyses and structural equation modelling, the results supported the assumption that conscientiousness mediates the relation between circadian preference and academic achievement. Implications for research into circadian preference and for education are discussed.