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There is growing awareness of mental health problems among UK business students, which appears to be exacerbated by students’ attitudes of shame toward mental health. This study recruited 138 UK business students and examined the relationship between mental health and shame, and mental health and potential protective factors such as self-compassion and motivation. A significant correlation between each of the constructs was observed and self-compassion was identified as an explanatory variable for mental health. Shame moderated the relationship between self-compassion and mental health. Integrating self-compassion training into business study programs may help to improve the mental health of this student group.
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Mental Health of UK University Business Students: Relationship with Shame, Motivation
and Self-Compassion
Kotera, Y., Conway, E., & Van Gordon, W. (2018) Mental health of UK university business
students: Relationship with shame, motivation and self-compassion. Journal of Education for
Business. doi: 10.1080/08832323.2018.1496898
Corresponding author: Yasuhiro Kotera (, University of Derby, UK.
There is growing awareness of mental health problems among UK business students, which
appear to be exacerbated by students’ attitudes of shame towards mental health. This study
recruited 138 UK business students and examined the relationship between mental health and
shame, and mental health and potential protective factors such as self-compassion and
motivation. A significant correlation between each of the constructs was observed and self-
compassion was identified as an explanatory variable for mental health. Shame moderated the
relationship between self-compassion and mental health. Integrating self-compassion training
into business study programmes may help to improve the mental health of this student group.
Keywords: self-compassion, mental health attitudes, mental health, academic
motivation, UK business students
In the 2016-2017 academic year, 333,425 students were enrolled on full-time or part-
time undergraduate and postgraduate business study programmes in the UK (Higher
Education Statistics Agency [HESA], 2018). Although business students reflect the largest
student group compared to other disciplines taught at UK universities, the increasing number
of business students with mental health problems is a cause for concern. More specifically,
the number of UK university business students with mental health problems increased from
13,060 in 2010 to 35,500 in 2015 (HESA, 2018). This increase was not aligned with
fluctuations in enrolment volumes (i.e., overall numbers have reduced as 358,290 business
students were enrolled in 2010/11; HESA, 2012) and was accompanied by a tripling of the
dropout rate for business students during the same five-year period (i.e., 2010-2015). A
similar problem has also been identified in other countries, such as Sweden, where a study
(n=750) comparing business and medical students reported that business students had
comparatively higher levels of stress, burnout, alcohol use, and depression (Dahlin, Nilsson,
Stotzer, & Runeson, 2011).
In addition to the demands of having to balance their work, family life, and university
studies, business students can experience additional stress due to a requirement to undertake
long periods of independent study and attend condensed full-day teaching schedules
(Matthews, 2017). Furthermore, while business educators identified the commercial
advantages and need for psychological education almost twenty years ago (Goleman, 1998;
Tucker, Sojka, Barone & McCarthy, 2000), only a small proportion of contemporary business
educators have sought to integrate comprehensive mental health training as part of the study
syllabus. For example, while 80% of the Association of Master of Business Administration’s
2,000 international business schools recognise that stress management is deemed to be an
important skill from an employer’s perspective, only one-third of such business schools
include stress management in the teaching syllabus (Matthews, 2017).
The gap between awareness of the need for stress management skills and provision of
such training in MBA programmes suggests that while some business educators are aware of
mental health problems amongst their students, they may not have the knowledge and/or
resources to address the problem. Research focussing on business students that furthers
understanding of mental health risk and resilience factors in therefore of value, particularly
given that business students who suffer from mental distress during their studies are more
likely to be ill-prepared for additional stressors in a workplace (Law, 2010). Thus, the present
study sought to assess the relationships between mental health symptoms and other relevant
psychological constructs (i.e., shame-based mental health attitudes, academic motivation, and
self-compassion) in a sample of UK university business students.
Review of the Literature
Like some other student populations, it is not uncommon for business students to
perceive stress and other mental health problems negatively and feel shameful in respect of
them (Vijayalakshmi, Reddy, Math, & Thimmaiah, 2013). Shame is a negative emotion of
inadequacy that arises due to the violation of an accepted standard or stigma (Tangney,
1990). It is closely associated with mental health concomitants such as low self-worth, as
well as with poor academic performance and reduced moral concern about academic
dishonesty (Hazzouri, Carvalho & Main, 2015). In turn, reduced moral concern amongst
business students can lead to a lack of ethical awareness amongst future managers and
business leaders (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, 2004; Ballantine,
Guo & Larres, 2018).
Studies evaluating business students’ personality have noted that i) they have lower
levels of openness compared to other student groups (Lounsbury, Smith, Levy, Leong &
Gibson, 2009), ii) most business students are judgemental (Nourayi & Cherry, 1993), and iii)
their self-enhancement bias (i.e., seeing people in the same category as you as better than
people in the other categories; Taylor & Brown, 1998) was high (Schlee, Curren, Harich &
Kiesler, 2007). Given these findings, it is reasonable to expect that business students would
score higher in attitudes of shame towards mental health than students in other subjects.
However, despite the likely interaction of shame in respect of mental health problems in UK
university business students, no study to date has specifically sought to explore attitudes and
shame about mental health in this student group.
Shame is also related to motivation where, for example, studies have shown that
extrinsic motivation is positively related to negative attitudes towards mental health problems
(Kotera et al., 2018). Studies have also shown that extrinsic motivation is associated with
increased mental health problems, while intrinsic motivation is associated with decreased
mental health problems in a variety of populations including university students (Kasser &
Ryan, 2001; Sheldon & Kasser, 1998). According to self-determination theory (Ryan & Deci,
2017), intrinsic motivation is activated by inherent passion (e.g., a student studies because
they enjoy the subject/topic), whereas extrinsic motivation is driven by external drivers such
as recognition and money (e.g., a student studies because they wish to receive the top grade
or secure a well-paid job). Accordingly, a study of business students in Taiwan (n=343)
reported that intrinsic motivation was significantly higher than extrinsic motivation among
students who successfully graduated (Cheng, Lin & Su, 2011). This is consistent with
concerns that have been raised due to observing high rates of extrinsic motivation in business
students in both Switzerland (Brahm, Jenert & Wagner, 2017) and the UK (Lucas & Tan,
2013). However, notwithstanding such observations, there remains a lack of clarity in terms
of understanding the relationship between motivation and mental health in this student group.
A further factor that is understood to be highly associated with mental health in
university student populations is self-compassion (Neely, Schallert, Mohammed, Roberts, &
Chen, 2009; Ying, 2009). In addition to self-compassion as a global construct, each of the
individual components of self-compassion (mindfulness, common humanity, self-kindness)
have been shown to be negatively related to depression in US postgraduate students (Ying,
2009). Self-compassion refers to a healthy structure of self-acceptance, established upon (i)
kindness to oneself when experiencing inadequacy, (ii) a recognition that discomfort is an
inevitable human experience, and (iii) awareness of painful thoughts (Neff, 2003a; Neff
2003b). These three elements are understood to be interwoven with each other such that
improving one element can improve another (Neff, 2003b). In non-business student
populations, self-compassion is associated with reduced social comparison (Neff & Vonk,
2009), reduced self-centred tendencies (Leary, Tate, Adams, Allen, & Hancock, 2007), and
increased wisdom and internal awareness (Brown & Ryan, 2003; Langer 1989, 2005;
Wallace & Shapiro, 2006). Intervention studies in clinical samples have also demonstrated
that self-compassion can ameliorate shame (Gilbert & Procter 2006). However, despite the
demonstrable potential of self-compassion to serve as a protective factor in terms of mental
health problems, no study to date has explored the relationship between self-compassion and
mental health attitudes in UK business students.
Given that business is the most popular university subject in the UK (HESA, 2018),
there is clearly a need to further empirical understanding of protective factors and
concomitants of mental illness in this population group. Accordingly, the purpose of this
study is to investigate the relationship between mental health, attitudes towards mental health,
self-compassion, and motivation in UK business students. Furthermore, in order to help
contextualise the findings, the outcomes from UK university business students will be
compared with UK social work students that have recently been the subject of cross-sectional
research exploring the relationship between mental health and factors such as shame,
motivation, and self-compassion (Kotera et al., 2018).
Research Methodology
Four hypotheses were tested to address the aforementioned research aims.
H1: Business students would register higher level of shame in mental health attitudes
compared to social work students.
H2: Mental health, attitudes towards mental health, self-compassion, and motivation would
be associated with each other in a sample of UK university business students.
H3: Attitudes towards mental health, self-compassion, and motivation would be explanatory
variables of mental health.
H4: Explanatory variables would mediate the relationship between mental health and
attitudes towards mental health.
All participants were aged 18 years or older and were fulltime undergraduate business
students studying in the East Midlands, UK. Participants were recruited using opportunity
sampling through questionnaires issued via programme tutors. No credits or compensation
were awarded to students for participation. Of 150 students who were asked to participate in
the study, 138 (73 female, 65 male; age range 18-57, Mage=21.15, SDage=5.75 years)
completed self-reported measures relating to mental health attitudes, mental health
symptoms, academic motivation, and self-compassion. Ninety-seven participants were
British, and 40 were international students (22 other Europeans, eight Asians, six Africans,
one North American, one South American, one Oceanian, and one undisclosed). Ethical
approval was provided by the Research Ethics Committee of the researchers’ institution, and
informed consent was obtained from all participants included in the study.
The Attitudes Towards Mental Health Problems (ATMHP; Gilbert et al., 2007).
consists of 35 four-point Likert items evaluating attitudes towards mental health problems.
The scale assesses internal and external forms of shame as well as shame in community and
family contexts. The scale also assesses ‘reflected shame’ that incorporates family-reflected
shame (how the respondent believes their family would be perceived if they had a mental
health problem) and self-reflected shame (how the respondent believes they would be
perceived if a close relative had a mental health problem). All of the subscales have good
Cronbach’s alphas (.85-.97; Gilbert et al., 2007).
The Depression Anxiety and Stress Scale (DASS-21) is a shortened form of DASS-42
(Lovibond & Lovibond, 1995) and comprises 21 items scored on a four-point Likert scale.
The DASS-21 comprises three seven-item subscales corresponding to depression (e.g., ‘I felt
that I had nothing to look forward to’), anxiety (e.g., ‘I felt I was close to panic’) and stress
(e.g., ‘I found it difficult to relax’). Each of the subscales has good internal consistency
(α=.87-.94; Antony, Bieling, Cox, Enns, & Swinson, 1998). For the purpose of this study, the
global DASS-21 score was used to provide an indication of overall mental health symptoms.
The Academic Motivation Scale (AMS; Vallerand et al. 1992) is a 28-item measure
that assesses the levels of three different types of motivation, categorised into seven subtypes:
(i) amotivation, (ii) extrinsic motivation (external, introjected, and identified regulation), and
(iii) intrinsic motivation (to know, to accomplish, and to experience stimulation). Each
subtype of motivation is assessed using four items on a seven-point Likert scale (from 1=
‘Does not correspond at all’ to 7= ‘Corresponds exactly’). All of the subscales have adequate
Cronbach’s alphas between .62 and .91 (Vallerand et al., 1992).
The Self-Compassion Scale-Short Form (SCS-SF; Neff, 2003b) is a shortened version
of the Self-Compassion Scale and comprises 12 five-point Likert items (‘1’ being ‘almost
never’ to ‘5’ being ‘almost always’). Respondents are asked question such as ‘When I fail at
something important to me I become consumed by feelings of inadequacy’. The SCS-SF has
good internal consistency (α=.86; Neff, 2003b).
Data Analysis
All data collected was initially screened for outliers, then the rates of the scores over
the midpoint were calculated. Additionally, scores on the ATMHP, AMS, DASS-21, and
SCS-SF for the business students were compared with 105 UK undergraduate social work
students (93 female and 12 male; age range 15-58, Mage=30.53, SDage=9.11 years; 94 UK
nationals; Kotera et al., 2018; Kotera, Green & Van Gordon, 2018). After screening the data
for the assumptions of various parametric tests, correlations between mental health attitudes,
mental health symptoms, motivation, and self-compassion were explored. Multiple regression
analyses were conducted to examine the best explanatory variables of mental health
symptoms. Finally, moderation analysis was undertaken to examine the impact of mental
health attitudes on the relationship between self-compassion and mental health symptoms.
Analyses were conducted using IBM SPSS version 24.0. Outliers (one score in extrinsic
motivation, and five scores in amotivation were identified as outliers) were identified using
the outlier labelling rule (Hoaglin & Iglewicz, 1987) and were subsequently winsorised
(Tukey, 1962). Skewness values ranged from -.73 to 1.46, and Kurtosis values from -.97
to .94. The Cronbach’s alphas for all the scales and subscales were above .75, demonstrating
high internal consistency. As shown in Table 1, UK business students had higher scores in
self-reflected shame and extrinsic motivation, and lower scores in self-compassion, compared
to UK social work students (Table 1). Among the subscales of ATMHP, only self-reflected
shame was higher in business students than social work students, and the difference in the
other subscales were not significant. Thus, H1 was partially supported.
Table 1. Descriptive statistics of UK business students, comparing with social work students
UK business students
UK social work students
CA (0-12)
FA (0-12)
CES (0-15)
FES (0-15)
IS (0-15)
FRS (0-21)
SRS (0-15)
IM (4-28)
EM (4-28)
AM (4-28)
MHS (0-63)
SC (1-5)
CA=Community Attitudes, FA=Family Attitudes, CES=Community External Shame, FES=Family External
Shame, IS=Internal Shame, FRS=Family-Reflected Shame, SRS=Self-Reflected Shame, IM=Intrinsic
Motivation, EM=Extrinsic Motivation, AM=Amotivation, MHS=Mental Health Symptoms, SC=Self-
Compassion. Superscripts indicate there was significant difference between the two groups.
With the exception of self-compassion, all of the scales scores were square root-transformed
to satisfy the assumption of normality. Pearson’s correlations were used to examine
relationships between attitude, motivation, mental health symptoms, and self-compassion (see
Table 2). Mental health attitudes were (i) related among all the subscales, (ii) moderately
positively related to extrinsic motivation, and (iii) negatively related to self-compassion.
Furthermore, mental health symptoms were positively related to mental health attitudes and
amotivation, and negatively related to self-compassion. Intrinsic motivation was positively
related to extrinsic motivation and self-compassion. Although almost all of the subscales
were associated with each other, there were some constructs that were not (e.g., intrinsic
motivation and mental health attitudes). Thus, H2 was largely supported.
Table 2. Correlations between mental health attitudes, mental health symptoms, motivation,
and self-compassion in UK business students (n=138)
1 Gender
2 Age
3 CA
4 FA
7 IS
10 IM
11 EM
12 AM
13 MHS
14 SC
*. Correlation is significant at the .05 level (2-tailed).
**. Correlation is significant at the .01 level (2-tailed).
CA=Community Attitudes, FA=Family Attitudes, CES=Community External Shame, FES=Family External
Shame, IS=Internal Shame, FRS=Family-Reflected Shame, SRS=Self-Reflected Shame, IM=Intrinsic
Motivation, EM=Extrinsic Motivation, AM=Amotivation, MHS=Mental Health Symptoms, SC=Self-
Multiple regression analyses were conducted to explore the relative contribution of
mental health attitudes, motivation, and self-compassion to mental health symptoms (Table
3). At step one, gender and age were entered to statistically adjust for their effects, and at step
two, all of the mental health attitudes and motivation subscales, as well as the self-
compassion scale, were entered. Adjusted coefficient of determination (Adj. R2) are reported.
Multicollinearity was not a concern as all of the VIF values were less than 10. After adjusting
for demographic information, mental health attitudes, motivation, and self-compassion
accounted for 47% of the variance for mental health symptoms, with self-compassion as a
significant explanatory variable. Mental health attitudes and motivation were not significant
explanatory variables for mental health symptoms. Thus, H3 was partially supported.
Table 3. Multiple regression: Mental health attitudes, motivation, and self-
compassion to mental health symptoms among business students (n=138)
Mental Health Symptoms
Step 1
Adj. R2
Step 2
Δ Adj.R2
CA=Community Attitudes, FA=Family Attitudes, CES=Community External Shame, FES=Family
External Shame, IS=Internal Shame, FRS=Family-Reflected Shame, SRS=Self-Reflected Shame,
IM=Intrinsic Motivation, EM=Extrinsic Motivation, AM=Amotivation, MHS=Mental Health
Symptoms, SC=Self-Compassion, B=unstandardised regression coefficient, SEB=standard error of the
coefficient, β=standardised coefficient; *p<.05; **p<.01.
Mental health attitudes and self-compassion, as well as the interaction between them
were entered to predict mental health symptoms, using the model 1 in the Process macro
(Hayes, 2012; Panel A in Figure 1). To avoid multicollinearity issues, the predictor variables
were centred prior to regression analyses.
Figure 1. Moderation of the effect of self-compassion on mental health symptoms by mental
health attitudes: conceptual diagram (panel A) and statistical diagram (panel B).
*p<.05; **p<.01; ***p<.001
Mental Health Attitudes
Self-compassion Mental Health Symptoms
Mental Health Attitudes
Mental Health Symptoms
Self-compassion x
Mental Health Attitudes
The interaction effects of self-compassion and mental health attitudes as predictors of
mental health symptoms were significant, which indicated that mental health attitudes
moderated the relationship between self-compassion and mental health symptoms (Panel B in
Figure 1). Three simple regression equations were calculated (Aiken & West, 1991) at
different levels of mental health attitudes: (i) one standard deviation below the mean mental
health attitudes score, (ii) the mean mental health attitudes score, and (iii) one standard
deviation above the mean mental health attitudes score (Figure 2). The plot of interaction
showed a negative enhancing effect of mental health attitudes: as mental health attitudes
scores became high, the negative relationship between self-compassion and mental health
symptoms was strengthened. Simple slopes analyses showed that the relationship between
self-compassion and mental health symptoms was significant at each of the three levels of
mental health attitudes: (i) low mental health attitudes (b = -1.06, t = .27, p < .001), (ii) mean
mental health attitudes (b = -1.44, t = -8.63, p < .001), and (iii) high mental health attitudes (b
= -1.82, t = .24, p < .001). Thus, H4 was supported.
Figure 2. Moderating effect of mental health attitudes on self-compassion and mental health
symptoms among business students (n=138).
MHA = Mental Health Attitudes
Discussion and Recommendations for Additional Research
This study assessed levels of mental health attitudes, motivation, mental health
symptoms, and self-compassion in UK business students, and made a comparison with UK
social work students. An assessment of the relationship between mental health attitudes,
motivation, mental health symptoms, and self-compassion was subsequently undertaken,
followed by an investigation into the explanatory variables for mental health symptoms.
Finally, moderation analysis was conducted to examine whether mental health attitudes
moderated the relationship between self-compassion and mental health symptoms.
The current sample of UK business students scored higher on self-reflected shame
(i.e., that relates to worries about being viewed negatively due to a family member’s mental
illness) and extrinsic motivation, and lower on self-compassion, than UK social work
students. The higher level of self-reflected shame may be explained by the fact that business
students are likely to have reduced knowledge of mental health issues when compared with
social work students. For example, social work students are arguably more likely to be aware
that the heritability of mental illness is not too high (i.e., in the order of 35% for depression;
Matsumoto, Kunimoto, & Ozaki, 2013) and that tolerance and understanding towards mental
illness is steadily increasing amongst employers and society more generally.
The same applies to the difference between the two student groups in levels of self-
compassion because given that compassion is a core value of social work (British Association
of Social Workers, 2012), social work students aspire to compassionate values during their
education and training. The higher levels of extrinsic motivation in business versus social
work students was likewise not unexpected because although recent literature indicates a
steady shift in business students from extrinsic to intrinsic forms of motivation (Hurst et al.
2016), traditionally, motivations for working in business have often been governed by the
promise of external rewards (Brahm, Jenert & Wagner, 2017; Lucas & Tan, 2013).
These significant differences between social work and business students appear to
reflect the previously-reported core personality characteristics of business students: low
levels of openness and agreeableness, and a high level of extraversion (Lounsbury, Smith,
Levy, Leong & Gibson, 2009). More specifically, low openness appears to correspond to
high shame, low agreeableness appears to correspond to low self-compassion, and high
extraversion appears to correspond to high extrinsic motivation. However, the originality of
the findings from the current study is that it appears to specifically be self-reflected shame
(i.e., worries about their self-image) that contributes to overall levels of high shame of
business students. Therefore, business students’ unrealistically high self-image (Mayo,
Kakarika, Pastor & Brutus, 2012) coupled with a tendency to be narcissistic (Westerman,
Whitaker, Bergman, Bergman & Dalya, 2016) may cause high reflected shame, leading to
low help-seeking in this student group. Future research could examine the relationships
between business students’ mental health constructs and personality traits in order to advance
understanding relating to the concomitants and determinants of mental health in business
The correlation analysis revealed that mental health symptoms were positively related
to mental health attitudes, extrinsic motivation, and amotivation, and negatively related to
self-compassion. Similarly, extrinsic motivation was more strongly related to all the
subscales of mental health attitudes and mental health symptoms compared to intrinsic
motivation. Consistent with established links between extrinsic motivation and reduced
mental health (e.g., Fernet 2013; Kotera et al., 2018; Raeissi, Raeissi & Shokouhandeh,
2014), these findings indicate that business students who are driven by external factors are
likely to be more at risk for mental illness and shame versus business students who are
intrinsically passionate about the subject. Indeed, according to a psychological justification
strategy proposed by Kotera, Adhikari, and Van Gordon (2017), externally motivated
students are less able to find any depth of meaning in their studies and thus have limited
capacity and tolerance for study-related adversity.
These relationships have not previously been explored in this student group and the
study findings indicate that it would be worthwhile to formulate and/or evaluate interventions
aimed at cultivating intrinsic motivation in business students. An example of such an
intervention might be the Disney strategy – modelled from how Walt Disney achieved his
dreams, accessing the dreamer, realist, and critique position with a certain cognitive mode
and body movement (Dilts, 1998) – that has been shown to help other student groups identify
with their inner passion and augment intrinsic motivation (Kotera & Sheffield, 2017).
Consistent with previous studies in student samples that have demonstrated the
importance of self-compassion as a protective factor for mental illness and psychological
distress (Neely et al., 2009; Ying, 2009), the multiple regression analysis revealed that self-
compassion was the only significant explanatory variable for mental health symptoms. The
moderation analysis added further depth to this observation and revealed that business
students’ mental health attitudes moderated the relationship between self-compassion and
mental health symptoms. More specifically, the effects of self-compassion on mental health
reduced as negative mental health attitudes increased.
Although the impact of mental health attitudes and self-compassion on mental health
have been previously reported (Hazzouri, Carvalho & Main, 2015; Neely, Schallert,
Mohammed, Roberts, & Chen, 2009; Ying, 2009), a mediation analysis examining the
mechanisms of how these constructs relate to each other has not been conducted to date.
Based on the findings from the present study, it may be helpful to integrate self-compassion
training into higher-education business studies curricula, as it can lead to better self-care and
mental health (Dunne, Sheffield & Chilcot, 2016). For example, embedding such training in
the orientation phase of a study programme may be an effective means of building resilience
in respect of the psychological stress likely to be encountered during the forthcoming
semester (Law, 2010). The precise content and format of such training could be informed by
the knowledge contribution made by the present study, which is that training effectiveness
will likely be undermined if business students view mental health problems as shameful
and/or believe that their family and peers have a similar outlook towards mental health
problems. Furthermore, providing self-compassion training may also benefit business study
faculty members because (i) mental health issues such as anxiety have also been observed in
this tutor group (Ameen, Guffey & Jackson, 2002), and (ii) enhanced compassion is related to
reduced mental health problems in university teachers (Jennings & Greenberg, 2009). Thus,
outcomes form this study suggest that examining the effects of self-compassion training in
business schools would be a worthwhile future research project.
There were several limitations to this study. Firstly, students were recruited via
opportunity sampling, which hinders the generalisability of the study findings. Furthermore,
participants were recruited from a single academic institution, thus findings may not
generalise to other higher education establishments. Secondly, although the comparison with
UK social workers helped to contextualise the characteristics of UK business students, future
research could compare findings with students from more diverse subjects and countries (as
well as with UK business workers). Finally, the causal direction of these effects has not been
investigated. A longitudinal study would help to elucidate the temporal patterning of the
observed relationships and to develop interventions accordingly.
Poor mental health of UK business students appears to be exacerbated by their
negative attitudes towards mental illness, causing help-avoidance. Though there is increasing
awareness of the seriousness of student mental health issues in UK higher education, this is
the first study to explore the relationship between mental health attitudes, mental health
symptoms, motivation, and self-compassion in UK business students. The four hypotheses
tested in this study were moderately supported: (i) self-reflected shame was higher in
business students than social work students but not significant difference was observed in the
other mental health attitudes subscales (H1 partially supported), (ii) mental health attitudes,
mental health symptoms, motivation, and self-compassion were overall related to each other
within the business students sample (H2 largely supported), (iii) self-compassion was the
only significant explanatory variable for mental health symptoms (H3 partially supported),
and (iv) self-compassion mediated the relationship between mental health and attitudes
towards mental health (H4 supported). Consequently, intervention studies evaluating the
effects of self-compassion training and intrinsic motivation training on the mental health
symptoms of UK university business students appear to be warranted.
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... In the research of Kotera et al. (2019), students of business in the United Kingdom scored lower in self-compassion than students of social work. Further, the level of SC and its elements seem to be gendersensitive to a certain extent. ...
... The grounds of these objectives reflect a planned involvement of the elements of mindfulness-based programs in the education of ethics at the Department of Psychology, as well as to the providing of Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) to clients of university counseling services. Research background for these interventions is observable e.g., in the study of Conway and Kotera (2020) referring to the impact of self-compassion on the efficiency of the ethical training or in the findings of Kotera et al. (2019) that point out to the lower level of self-compassion by the business students in comparison with the students of social work. Our results may support understanding to students' self-compassion at other Czech faculties dealing with business education as well as in international comparison. ...
... The mean scores in all subscales indicate that the level of SC is not literally low by our participants, however, there is still a space to support it. Many papers (Medlicott et al., 2021;Lee and Lee, 2020;Kotera et al., 2019;Smeets et al., 2014) support the arranging of mindfulness-based interventions for students. We intend to use certain elements of mindfulness-based programs in the subject Psychology and Ethics in Business following a study by Conway and Kotera (2020). ...
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The mindfulness-based methods are on the rise in the mental health care of students as well as employees. Therefore, the research on self-compassion is necessary to explore abilities and personality traits that are cultivated by the mindfulness approach. Our research deals with the assessment of the level of self-compassion by the students of the Faculty of Economics and Management at the Czech University of Life Sciences to precise the planned mindfulness-based intervention. Further, the gender and personality specifics as well as a connection to academic achievement are examined. For this purpose, the Self-compassion Scale, and the NEO-PI-R were used. The results proved insignificant correlations between the self-compassion subscales and self-reported grades, but also subtle differences in the structure of the self-compassion by males and females. Further, correlations between the neuroticism and the Self-compassion Scale and its subscales were revealed. Structural equation modeling was involved to gain more complex insight in the researched area.
... Well-being has been researched in many work environments [1], and recent studies have also addressed its importance in higher education [2][3][4]. As a part of this discussion, the multifaceted influences of stress in higher education have triggered increasing agreement that greater recognition of the stressful nature of higher education is needed [5]. COVID-19 has also brought increased attention to well-being in academia [4,6]. ...
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Experienced stress by students and teachers in higher education has attracted increasing interest, but the two groups are rarely studied together. We combine their perspectives by considering the stress and coping among students and teachers concerning the development of study structures in a business school context. The findings indicate a strong connection between stress experienced by students and teachers, reflecting their interactive nature in this context. We categorize factors causing stress to those for which effective coping mechanisms exist, those causing tensions and requiring active management, and stressors that are difficult to remove because a coping mechanism for one group increases the stress of the other. Our findings add to existing knowledge on stress and coping mechanisms in higher education by combining the perspectives of students and teachers concerning study structures in business education.
... This variable requires motivational resources that are related to employees' mental health at the workplace. Therefore, high work engagement means having work motivation, and in previous research, it has been linked to fewer mental health problems and less mental health shame among staff and business students [25,26]. ...
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(1) Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted attention on the importance of certain variables in predicting job performance. Among these, mental health is one of the main variables affected by this pandemic. It can have an important mediating role in predicting job performance by individual, occupational, and organizational variables, especially in the nursing community. However, there is little information about its mediation role among the predictors of job performance. This cross-sectional study aimed to examine the role of mental health as a mediating factor in the influence of self-compassion and work engagement on ICU nurses’ job performance during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the moderating effect of gender on all model relations. A survey of 424 ICU nurses (men 193 and women 231) was undertaken in three Coronavirus hospitals in Isfahan, Iran. (2) Method: Questionnaires were distributed and collected among the statistical sample, and the data from the questionnaires were analyzed using AMOS24 software (version 24). The research model was evaluated in two stages (the main model and the two sub-models in two gender groups). (3) Result: The analysis revealed that work engagement (β = 0.42, p < 0.001), mental health (β = 0.54, p < 0.001) and job performance (β = 0.51, p < 0.001) were discovered to be positively related to self-compassion. Work engagement is positively associated with mental health (β = 0.16, p < 0.01) and job performance (β = 0.21, p < 0.001), and mental health is linked positively to job performance (β = 0.23, p < 0.001). Furthermore, the effects of self-compassion and work engagement on job performance are mediated by mental health. According to the findings, gender moderates the link between self-compassion and work engagement, work engagement and job performance, and self-compassion and job performance. (4) Conclusion: Mental health has a mediating role in the effect of self-compassion and work engagement on ICU nurses’ job performance. Gender also acted as a moderator in some relationships. Males are dominant in all of these relationships as compared to females.
... Mental health problems are heavily stigmatised (Corrigan, 2004a), influencing individual attitudes towards those experiencing mental health problems, including the self. Attitudes towards mental health problems have been shown to impact mental health in a number of populations and cultures (Abolfotouh et al., 2019;Kotera, Adhikari, et al., 2021;Kotera, Gilbert, et al., 2019;Kotera, Green, & Sheffield, 2018;Kotera & Maughan, 2020), with evidence that negative attitudes towards mental health problems are associated with an increase in mental health problems (Kotera, Conway, et al., 2019;. Negative attitudes, derived from negative cultural stigma, result in shame when an individual is experiencing a mental health problem (Cabral Master et al., 2016;Gilbert et al., 2007). ...
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How a person perceives mental health problems impacts their mental health. Negative attitudes towards mental health problems are associated with shame, leading to poor mental health. Poor mental health is a cause for concern in Japan, especially among healthcare professionals. To date, no established measure exists in the Japanese language. The Attitudes Towards Mental Health Problems Scale (ATMHPS) is a well-used self-report measure employed in many studies, which led to the development of the short form (SATMHPS). We aimed to develop the Japanese version of (S)ATMHPS: J-(S)ATMHPS. Nursing professionals in Japan (n=300) completed J-(S)ATMHPS and J-DASS-21. Confirmatory factor analysis was performed, and the internal consistencies of subscales were calculated. The original seven-factor structure model was replicated in J-SATMHPS. Internal consistencies for all J-(S)ATMHPS subscales were high. All subscales were associated with mental health. J-(S)ATMHPS can be used as a reliable measure for the attitudes towards mental health problems in Japanese.
... Perhaps it is the very strict constraints of isolation, the adverse effects of having COVID-19 (if that is the reason for isolation), or the fear of contracting COVID-19 as a declared close contact that are associated with problematic motivation and engagement. It is also possible that the social dislocation of lockdown and isolation adversely impacted mental health (Catling et al., 2022) that has known implications for students' motivation and engagement (Kotera et al., 2019). ...
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This investigation comprised two studies that sought to identify the role of COVID-related disruptions in Australian university students’ academic motivation and engagement. Study 1 involved a dataset of 500 university students and examined links between COVID-19 pandemic disruptions (remote and hybrid learning modes, lockdown, isolation) and students’ adaptive (e.g., planning and monitoring) and maladaptive (e.g., disengagement) dimensions of the Motivation and Engagement Scale (MES). Study 2 compared the mean motivation and engagement of Study 1 participants with mean levels from four published pre-COVID-19 Australian studies (N = 55, N = 233, N = 420, N = 941 university students) that also used the MES. Study 1 showed that lockdown and isolation (and not remote/hybrid learning) were associated with problematic motivation and engagement—with lockdown and isolation effects particularly noteworthy for maladaptive motivation and engagement. Study 2 showed that relative to the four pre-COVID-19 samples, the COVID-19 pandemic sample experienced difficulties with motivation and engagement, and again particularly so on maladaptive dimensions.
... To become educated, students face challenging circumstances such as living separately from their families, entering unfamiliar environments, grappling with economic problems, having a lack of sufficient income, needing to study many subjects, and confronting intense competition. Hence, they are prone to mental illness (Kotera et al., 2019). In short students are affected by social, cultural, and economic conditions. ...
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The Santa Clara Brief Compassion Scale (SCBCS) is a five-item version of Sprecher and Fehr's (2005) 21-item Compassionate Love Scale for Humanity (CLS). Santa Clara University has used the SCBCS over the past decade along with other anthropological scales for new students and graduates. But the SCBCS has neither been used nor measured psychologically in Iranian society yet. The present research translated the SCBCS from English into Persian and then determined the psychometric properties of the Iranian version. A sample of 237 women and 249 men (N = 486) was conveniently selected for this purpose. The face, content and construct validities were established where, convergent validity of SCBCS had moderate (r = .50) to high (Cronbach's alpha = .97) reliabilities. SCBCS had a positive and direct correlation with the Self Compassion Scale (SCS) and its subscales i.e. self-kindness, self-judgment, common humanity, isolation and mindfulness. SCBCS had a negative correlation with isolation and cloning, which was significant (p < .01). Overall, the findings of this research show that the statistical properties of the SCBCS are of acceptable relevance when it comes to the Iranian sample, meaning that the scale can generally be used with a great deal of confidence in Iran.
... It is associated with resilience and helps nursing students' well-being augmentation, transforms them into a workforce, and prepares them to face a challenging profession (McKiddy, 2021). Self-compassion, often seen as the ability to see suffering in oneself and others with a commitment to eliminate suffering, is strongly linked with positive mental health experiences in many healthcare students (Kotera et al., 2019). Self-compassion is a positive view of oneself when everything goes wrong and is seen as a protective factor for people against problems (Neff, 2003). ...
Background: Academic resilience has been identified as a coping method for nursing students' educational and practice challenges. Despite the importance of academic resilience, knowledge on how to enhance academic resilience is under-researched. To suggest suitable approaches, relationships between academic resilience and other constructs need to be appraised. Objectives: This study aims to evaluate predictors of academic resilience, examining its relationships with other essential constructs: self-compassion and moral perfectionism, in undergraduate nursing students in Iran. Design: This descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted in 2022. Participants: A convenience sample of 250 undergraduate nursing students at three universities in Iran participated in this study by completing self-report measures. Methods: Data collection tools were Nursing Student Academic Resilience Inventory, Moral Perfectionism scale, and Self-Compassion Scale-Short Form. Correlation and regression analyses were conducted. Results: The mean and standard deviation of academic resilience were 57.57 ± 23.69; moral perfectionism 50.24 ± 9.97, and self-compassion 37.19 ± 5.02. Self-compassion had significantly related to moral perfectionism (r = 0.23, p < 0.001). Academic resilience had no statistically significant relationship with moral perfectionism (r = 0.05, p = 0.41) and self-compassion (r = 0.06, p = 0.35), but significantly affect age (r = 0.14, p = 0.03), Grade point average (r = 0.18, p < 0.001) and university of study (r = 0.56, p < 0.001). The grade point average and the university of the study predicted 33 % of the changes in academic resilience, and the greatest impact was related to the university (r = 0.56, p < 0.001). Conclusion: Adopting appropriate educational strategies and supporting the students will help improve nursing students' academic resilience and performance. Promoting self-compassion will lead to the development of nursing students' moral perfectionism.
Self-compassion is a construct of positive psychology related to personality and cognitive factors. Perfectionism and interpersonal sensitivity are prevalent personality traits among university students and are associated with low self-compassion. Further research is required to comprehend how these mechanisms work in creating self-compassion. Consequently, the current study investigated the direct and indirect relationship between perfectionism and interpersonal sensitivity with self-compassion via repetitive negative thinking. To this end, a sample of 450 students studying in Tehran during the 2022 academic year was selected as the study sample. The results indicated that perfectionism and interpersonal sensitivity demonstrate a negative direct relationship with self-compassion, while perfectionism and interpersonal sensitivity exhibit an indirect relationship with self-compassion via repetitive negative thinking. Based on the findings, it can be concluded that the relationship between perfectionism and interpersonal sensitivity with self-compassion is not straightforward and that repetitive negative thinking can mediate this relationship. The results can be used to improve methods for increasing self-compassion and paying attention to personality, and cognitive factors can be an important step toward more effective self-compassion interventions.
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Awareness of mental health has been increasing rapidly worldwide in recent years, and even more so since the outbreak of COVID-19. Depression is now regarded as one of the most debilitating diseases, and wellbeing is incorporated into the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. In order for all of us to have a happy life, mental health cannot be ignored. As announced by the UK government, our health cannot be achieved without good mental health. Likewise, in Asia, the word ‘health (健康)’ in Chinese and Japanese encompasses both a healthy body and a calm mind. The Japanese government has implemented a work-style reform to protect employees’mental health. While these movements suggest the importance of mental health worldwide, a universal definition of mental health remains to be defined. This is partly attributed to a lack of understanding of mental health from different cultures. How an individual regards mental health can differ significantly according to their culture. Therefore, this Special Issue aims to address this problem by introducing alternative views to mental health through discussion of cross-cultural psychiatric matters.
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Although many social work students suffer from mental health symptoms, the majority of them do not seek help, because of shame. Accordingly, the purposes of this study were to evaluate social work students’ attitudes for mental health problems, and explore relationships among shame, mental health symptoms, self-criticism, self-compassion and role identity. First, eighty-four UK female undergraduate social work students completed a measure of attitudes towards mental health problems, and were compared with ninety-four UK female undergraduate students in other subjects. UK female undergraduate social work students had a higher level of negative perception in their community’s attitudes towards mental health problems. Second, eighty-seven UK social work students completed the attitudes, mental health, self-criticism, self-compassion and role-identity measures. Self-criticism, self-compassion and role identity were significantly related to mental health symptoms and identified as significant, independent predictors of mental health symptoms. This study confirmed that social work students consider that their community perceives mental health problems negatively and that their self-criticism, self-compassion and role identity relate to their poor mental health. The findings may help social work students, educators and researchers to deepen the understanding of their mental health symptoms and identify better solutions.
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Aims To assess mental well-being in a sample of UK caring profession students and explore the relationship between mental well-being, psychological distress, caregiver role identity, self-compassion, and motivation. Background Students of caring profession subjects in UK universities typically follow a demanding educational and clinical training curriculum. Consequently, compared to other UK student groups, levels of psychological distress and mental illness are high. Design A cross-sectional observational study was conducted during the 2016-2017 academic year. Methods UK caring profession students (n=116) completed measures assessing mental well-being, psychological distress, caregiver role identity, self-compassion, and motivation. Significant correlations and independent predictors of mental well-being and psychological distress were identified. Results/Findings The current sample of UK caring profession students had low levels of mental well-being and two-thirds were deemed to have severe levels of psychological distress. Mental well-being and psychological distress were negatively associated with role identity, and positively associated with self-compassion and intrinsic motivation. Role identity, self-compassion and intrinsic motivation were significant independent predictors of mental well-being and psychological distress. Conclusion This study accords with other studies reporting that levels of psychological distress and mental illness are high amongst UK caring profession students. Findings suggest role identity, self-compassion, and intrinsic motivation are key factors that influence the mental well-being of this student group. Further research is warranted to determine whether adjusting the training curriculum to change how students identify with their caregiver role, as well as improve student levels of self-compassion and intrinsic motivation, leads to improvements in mental well-being and academic completion. Keywords: mental well-being, caring profession, nurse, social worker, self-compassion, role identity, intrinsic motivation, psychological distress, students
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The primary purposes of this study were to (i) assess levels of different types of work motivation in a sample of UK hospitality workers and make a cross-cultural comparison with Chinese counterparts and (ii) identify how work motivation and shame-based attitudes towards mental health explain the variance in mental health problems in UK hospitality workers. One hundred three UK hospitality workers completed self-report measures, and correlation and multiple regression analyses were conducted to identify significant relationships. Findings demonstrate that internal and external motivation levels were higher in UK versus Chinese hospitality workers. Furthermore, external motivation was more significantly associated with shame and mental health problems compared to internal motivation. Motivation accounted for 34–50% of mental health problems. This is the first study to explore the relationship between motivation, shame, and mental health in UK hospitality workers. Findings suggest that augmenting internal motivation may be a novel means of addressing mental health problems in this worker population.
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Kotera, Y., Adhikari, P., & Van Gordon, W. (2017). The relationship between work motivation and worker profile in UK hospitality workers. International Journal of Education, Psychology and Counseling, 2, 231-243.
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Background. Mental illness is an important public health issue worldwide; stigmatisation and negative attitudes towards people with mental illness are widespread among the general public. However, little is known about the attitudes of undergraduates to mental illness. Purpose. To compare the attitudes towards mental illness among undergraduates enrolled in nursing courses v. those enrolled in Bachelor of Business Management (BBM) courses. Methods. A cross-sectional descriptive design was adopted for the present study. A total of 268 undergraduates were selected to complete the Attitude Scale for Mental Illness (ASMI) and the Opinions about Mental Illness in the Chinese Community (OMICC) questionnaires. Results. We found significant differences between the number of nursing and BBM students who agreed with statements posed by the questionnaires, e.g., that they would move out of their community if a mental health facility was established there (χ2=16.503, p
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The Disney strategy, a neuro-linguistic programming skill, has been reported to be useful for career guidance by qualified career consultants in Japan. This mixed methods pilot study aimed to examine the effects and the experience of using this strategy for career guidance in Japanese students. Six students responded to four job-search-related scales at pre-training and post-training, and were interviewed. Students' self-esteem and job-search self-efficacy increased significantly in the short-term. Thematic analysis of the interviews revealed three key experiential features: body movement; clear vision; and positive emotions. These promising findings suggest the Disney strategy should be examined in larger, longitudinal studies.
I: Background.- 1. An Introduction.- 2. Conceptualizations of Intrinsic Motivation and Self-Determination.- II: Self-Determination Theory.- 3. Cognitive Evaluation Theory: Perceived Causality and Perceived Competence.- 4. Cognitive Evaluation Theory: Interpersonal Communication and Intrapersonal Regulation.- 5. Toward an Organismic Integration Theory: Motivation and Development.- 6. Causality Orientations Theory: Personality Influences on Motivation.- III: Alternative Approaches.- 7. Operant and Attributional Theories.- 8. Information-Processing Theories.- IV: Applications and Implications.- 9. Education.- 10. Psychotherapy.- 11. Work.- 12. Sports.- References.- Author Index.
In Switzerland, every student graduating from grammar school can begin to study at a university. This leads to high dropout rates. Although students’ motivation is considered a strong predictor of performance, the development of motivation during students’ transition from high school to university has rarely been investigated. Additionally, little is known about the relation of motivational aspects with other influences on study performance. The present longitudinal study addresses this research gap and examines the development of economics and management students’ study motivation. It encompasses four waves of data collected throughout the first year, using quantitative online surveys. In total, the sample consists of 820 students. Data is analysed using latent change modelling. Results indicate that students start at a higher level of intrinsic motivation compared to extrinsic motivation. The variability of the starting value of the two constructs is also differing. The analysis also shows a gradual decline in students’ motivation. Above all, the transition from secondary to higher education seems to be a driver for this decline.
To test the hypothesis that self-compassion predicts better physical health and that this is partially mediated through health-promoting behaviours, 147 adults completed self-report measures of self-compassion, health-promoting behaviours and physical health. Self-compassion and health-promoting behaviours were negatively associated with physical symptom scores. Self-compassion was positively associated with health-promoting behaviours. A bootstrapped mediation model confirmed a significant direct effect of self-compassion on physical health through health-promoting behaviours (R(2) = 0.13, b = -8.98, p = 0.015), which was partially mediated through health-promoting behaviours (R(2) = 0.06, b = -3.16, 95 per cent confidence interval [-6.78, -0.86]). Findings underscore the potential health-promoting benefits of self-compassion.