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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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... Furthermore, in self-compassion, negative feelings or experiences are not rejected; rather, 'positive emotions are generated by embracing the negative ones' [5]. Thus, like EPP, self-compassion is an integrative, dialectical approach, as suffering and flourishing are seen as interacting: flourishing can occur through accepting and understanding suffering [6]. Lastly, mindfulness-based activities, which incorporate elements of self-compassion, have been used as a strategy to address death anxiety [7], a core concern of existential psychology. ...
... Among social work students in the United States, high levels of self-compassion have been associated with lower levels of depressive symptoms [10], and in the UK, high levels of self-compassion were associated with better mental health [23]. Among university students more broadly, self-compassion has been associated with lower levels of distress and improved mental health [6,[24][25][26]. Despite the importance of self-compassion for mental health, there is limited research exploring it in relation to other, more established constructs among social work students. ...
... While motivation is important for academic success, students may struggle to recover from academic setbacks if they lack resilience (fear of failure, poor performance, academic pressure and negative feedback) [88]. Accordingly, prior research indicates that high levels of resilience protect against the negative impacts of stress-related illnesses and provides improved learning and academic achievement [6,89]. Moreover, the literature links academic resilience and engagement, positively influencing personal and academic performance [90]. ...
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Self-compassion recognises a meaning of life's suffering, aligning with existential positive psy-chology. Although this construct is known to protect our mental health, how to augment self-compassion remains to be evaluated. Social work students suffer from high rates of mental health problems, however research into self-compassion in this population remains to be devel-oped. This study aimed to evaluate i) relationships between self-compassion and more tradition-al positive constructs—resilience, engagement and motivation, and ii) differences of these con-structs between the levels of studies, to inform how self-compassion can be enhanced in social work students. One hundred twenty-nine Irish social work students completed self-report scales regarding self-compassion, resilience, engagement and motivation. Correlation, regression, and one-way MANOVA were conducted. Self-compassion was associated with gender, age, resili-ence, engagement and intrinsic motivation. Resilience and intrinsic motivation were significant predictors of self-compassion. There was no significant difference in the levels of these constructs between the levels of studies. Findings suggest that social work educators across different levels can strengthen students’ resilience and intrinsic motivation to cultivate the students' self-compassion. Moreover, the close relationships between self-compassion, resilience and in-trinsic motivation indicate that orienting students to a meaning of the studies helps their mental health.
... Mental health shame is feeling ashamed for having a mental health problem (Kotera et al. 2019d), and has been associated with poor mental health in business, psychotherapy, occupational therapy, social work, and nursing students in the UK [10,11,17,18]. One explanation for this association is that mental health shame reduces the likelihood that an individual will seek help for their mental health problems [19]. ...
... Neff posits that self-compassion conceptualises a healthy relationship to oneself, and is protective against the negative impacts of rumination, self-judgement, and isolation [28]. Research supports the protective mechanism of self-compassion, and it has been negatively associated with mental health symptoms among UK social work, counselling, occupational therapy, and business students [10][11][12]17] with burnout; reduced wellbeing and self-criticism among UK midwifery students [29]; and with lower distress among university students more broadly [30]. ...
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Although students in education have high rates of mental health problems, many of them do not ask for help, which can exacerbate their symptoms. One reason for their low help-seeking is shame associated with mental health problems. As education students aspire to provide care for chil-dren, they may feel ashamed to care for themselves as the role identity theory suggests. Self-compassion is reported to reduce shame and mental health problems. This study explored the relationships between mental health problems, mental health shame, self-compassion and care-giver identity among UK education students. One hundred nine postgraduate students completed four self-report scales regarding those constructs. Correlation and regression analyses were per-formed. Mental health problems were positively associated with shame and identity, while nega-tively associated with self-compassion. Self-compassion was the only significant predictor of mental health problems. Findings will help educators and education students to develop effective approaches for their mental health problems.
... In the present study, simple random was employed was 120 undergraduate students were involved (56 % males and 44 % females) with a mean age of 23 years were recruited from the public university of Islamabad, Pakistan. The reason for measuring the mental health of university students as research has supported the notion that university students are encountered with various scenarios [18] including emotional, societal, and intellectual challenging demands which pose a variety of physical, social, and emotional difficulties. As a result, this age becomes more prone to develop health problems [18]. ...
... The reason for measuring the mental health of university students as research has supported the notion that university students are encountered with various scenarios [18] including emotional, societal, and intellectual challenging demands which pose a variety of physical, social, and emotional difficulties. As a result, this age becomes more prone to develop health problems [18]. Since, a university environment is composed of diversity in terms of different cultures, communities, and psychosocial background [19]. ...
Conference Paper
Millions of people are affected by mental illness which remains unnoticed due to lack of awareness, use of appropriate, timely mental health services, associated stigma, and limited resources. Ignorance leads to serious consequences resulted in maladjustment in life functioning. Since adulthood is a period prone to heightened emotionality. Therefore, this study aims at providing an affordable web portal ‘IKIGAI’ for the university student to assess anxiety, depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, and mood disorder. The current study addresses the development, validation, and verification of a web-based portal using a mixed-method research design. Data was gathered using simple random sampling from undergraduate computer science university students. Data were analyzed using ATLAST ti and SPSS. Results revealed that mental disorders are prevalent as over half of students suffered from at least one mental health problem at baseline or follow-up. Moreover, 60% had at least one mental health problem two years later. Less than half of those students who were diagnosed with a mental health problem received treatment between those time points. The majority of students with probable disorders were aware of the need for treatment. Hence, the importance of a web portal ‘IKIGAI’ can be effective to detect students’ depression, anxiety, and stress.
... As a marker of psychopathology, shame has been linked to depression [39], anxiety [40], and eating disorders [41]. "Mental health shame" ( [42], p. 136)-feeling ashamed for having a mental health problem-is linked in university students to poorer mental health [43] and is especially prominent in students who prepare to enter demanding careers such as business management [44] and health care [45]. Doblytė [13] qualitatively explored feelings of shame regarding mental health problems in an adult Czech sample and observed that shame was a dominant theme for delayed treatment seeking and the adoption of destructive coping strategies to prevent stigmatisation. ...
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High rates of mental health problems are a growing concern in Czech higher education; negatively impacting on students' performance and wellbeing. Despite the serious nature of poor mental health; students often do not seek help due to negative attitudes and shame for mental health problems. Recent mental health research reports self-compassion is strongly associated with better mental health and reduced shame. However, relationships between those constructs remain to be evaluated among Czech students. This study aimed to appraise the relationships between mental health problems; negative mental health attitudes; mental health shame; and self-compassion in this population. An opportunity sample of 119 psychology students from a Czech university completed questionnaires regarding these constructs. Correlation, regression and path analyses were conducted. Mental health problems were positively associated with neg-ative mental health attitudes and shame; and negatively associated with self-compassion. Self-compassion negatively predicted mental health problems, while negative attitudes and shame did not. Lastly, self-compassion fully mediated the negative attitudes-mental health problems relationship, and partially mediated the shame-mental health problems relationship. Findings suggest self-compassion is essential for mental health in Czech students; and associated with negative mental health attitudes and mental health shame. Czech universities can benefit from incorporating self-compassion training in their curriculum to protect students' mental health.
... Additionally, self-compassion is important to examine in student populations because it is consistently associated with student wellbeing (Dundas et al., 2017;Kotera et al., 2020a, b;Kotera, Conway, & Van Gordon, 2019;Leary et al., 2007;Neely et al., 2009). Students with greater self-compassion may be able to more effectively manage negative emotions (e.g., in the face of academic adversity) and engage in self-soothing by deactivating neurological 'defence threat systems' (Gilbert, 2010;Kelly et al., 2009). ...
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Academic motivation is recognised as a key factor for academic success and wellbeing. Highly motivated students actively engage with academic activities and maintain higher levels of wellbeing. Despite the importance of motivation in education, its relationship with engagement and wellbeing remains to be evaluated. Accordingly, this study explored the relationships between motivation, engagement, self-criticism and self-compassion among UK education postgraduate students. Of 120 postgraduate students approached, 109 completed three self-report scales regarding those constructs. Correlation, regression and moderation analyses were performed. Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation were positively associated with engagement, whereas amotivation was
... These three components are intertwined in such a way that improving one component can improve another. In the United Kingdom, among business students and social work students, the only important explanatory variable for psychological disorders was selfcompassion [27]. In Korean college students, self-kindness was discovered to be a crucial predictor of positive mental health [28]. ...
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Aims: The study examined the relationship between self-compassion and positive mental health of undergraduate students of the Royal University of Bhutan. Methodology: Participants were 321 undergraduate students (184 female, 137 male), between 17 and 40 years of age. To assess self-compassion and positive mental health they completed a questionnaire that consisted of the Self-Compassion Scale-Short Form (SCS-SF) and the Mental Health Continuum-Short Form (MHC-SF). Results: There was not a significant difference in overall mental health scores between the male students (M = 2.560, SD = 1.325) and the female students (M = 2.339, SD = 1.254); t(319) =-Original Research Article Chaudhuri et al.; AJESS, 20(2): 22-35, 2021; Article no.AJESS.72450 23 1.525, p = .128. Among the students surveyed, 24.6 percent were flourishing, 42.1 percent were moderately mentally healthy, and 33.3 percent were languishing. The percentage of female students (35.3) languishing was higher compared to male students (30.7). The participants had a moderate level of self-compassion (M = 3.034, SD = 0.403). The male students (M = 3.092, SD = 0.415) were significantly more self-compassionate than the females (M = 2.991, SD = 0.389); t(319) =-2.230, p = .026. Self-compassion was significantly positively correlated with the positive mental health of the students (r = .337, p < .001). Self-kindness (r = .298, p < .001), mindfulness (r = .278, p < .001), common humanity (r = .240, p < .001), self-judgment (r = .126, p = .024), and isolation (r = .119, p = .033) components of self-compassion were found to be significantly positively correlated to positive mental health. Over-identification had a non-significant weak correlation with positive mental health (r = 0.09). According to regression results, mindfulness (β = .18, p = .017), self-kindness (β = .17, p = .023), and self-judgment (β = .15, p = .006) significantly positively predicted positive mental health. The regressor, mindfulness, had the highest correlation with positive mental health. Self-compassion has explained 11.
... Mental health, shame, and protective factors are gaining awareness in this generation. In the study conducted by Kotera et al. (2019), it found out that there was a significant correlation that exists between mental health and self-compassion, identified as an exploratory variable for mental health. Shame moderated the relationship between self-compassion and mental health. ...
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This study aimed at analyzing the mental health and stress level of teachers in the Schools Division in Central Luzon, Philippines. At the same time, it identified the relationship and impact of mental health and stress level of the teachers as regards learning resource development. The study employed a descriptive-correlation research design with the online survey as the primary data collection tool. The respondents came from the 25 elementary schools in Schools Division in Central Luzon. 205 teachers participated in the online survey using a simple random sampling technique. An adapted and modified questionnaire was used to gather data. For the statistical treatment of the study, the mean was used for the responses of the teachers and the relationship and impact; the study used Pearson-r and regression analysis.The study found that in terms of mental health, the teachers experience less than once a week of sleeping problems. For social well-being, teachers experience them almost every day. For the things that bother them, the teachers were not bothered at all. The teachers also have positive mental health and for the aspect of bouncing back, they responded neutrally. In terms of stress level, the teachers revealed that they sometimes experience such a thing. For the learning resource development, the response of the teachers was “strongly agree.” Also, there exists a low direct relationship between mental health level and the development of learning resources. To confirm the relationship, the regression analysis found that mental health significantly impacts the learning resource development of teachers. Based on the results above, the researcher provided some important recommendations for the study.
This paper explores course design and curriculum decisions made to acknowledge the contextual and personal stressors experienced by business school students. Business school professors have an opportunity to promote an active orientation to stress management, teach stress management skills, and link these practices to students’ lives beyond academia. We use a lens of intersectionality to understand the human experience of stress and coping, connecting research from the management, psychology, biology, and sociology literatures to reveal a more complicated picture of stress for students in the 2020–2021 academic year. We then examine recent pedagogical changes in two business courses, Personal and Professional Development I for first-year students and Organizational Behaviour for second year students, as we discuss how many stressors can be addressed at the course-design level (through principles of simplicity, predictability, and consistency) as well as through module design (by creating community and connections to services, societies, and supports). Rather than viewing pandemic-induced course modifications as a temporary “fix” for the current situation, professors can use this time to re-imagine the importance of student stress in the learning process. We offer recommendations for long-term change to business school curriculum to accomplish this goal.
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The number of higher education students facing mental health issues has reached a critical point, with major consequences both in terms of academic achievement and general health and wellbeing. Institutions recognise the issue and have put in place a number of measures to try and counteract the crisis. Monitoring students’ wellbeing can play a critical role, and Virtual Learning Environments could be instrumental in achieving this goal. This is particularly true in online-learning scenarios, where face-to-face contact is less present or not present at all, and educators need to rely on observing the online behaviour. However, the information overload to lecturers is significant, keeping track of each online discussion forum is extremely onerous, and the help from "learning analytics" not always useful, as they often concentrate on measures of students’ performance, engagement, and presence in the virtual classroom, which are not necessarily good indicators of mental health. The work presented in this thesis proposes to bridge this gap by addressing the effectiveness of emotion or writing style profiling to identify students at risk. The work proposes a conceptual framework for a system, intended to sit alongside the virtual learning environment, and able to play the role of an "emotion observer", identifying and flagging potential issues to the educator. We propose a system where technology is supportive of educators rather than replacing them, and is not intrusive or changing the classroom dynamics. We demonstrate the validity of the approach with a series of experiments. We address the technical feasibility of such a system by investigating how established artificial intelligence techniques, and "off-the-shelf" tools implementing them, can be used to carry out the tasks that would need to be performed by a system implementing the approach, and we discuss their performances on either available datasets, or, for one of the experiments, a purpose built dataset, which is part of the contributions of the thesis. We address the admissibility of such an approach by conducting a focus group study with a group of experts in online learning. The contribution of the thesis is therefore the first complete feasibility study on the development of a novel system able to monitor students’ emotional state, both individually and as a cohort, and longitudinally over the course of their studies, which is aimed at supporting online educators identify students at risk and implement strategies for intervention.
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There is a developing interest in recovery-based approaches, positive psychology and the importance of flourishing in alcohol use disorders (AUD). However, there has been little research into approaches that focus on flourishing in AUD and some concerns have been raised that this new focus will supplant or conflict with the existing impulsivity-reducing approaches, creating poorer alcohol use outcomes. The study addressed research questions on how the approach was adopted and valued by participants, how it compared to other approaches, how aware participants were of changes in recovery capital and positive psychology-focused concepts, such as flourishing or impulsivity. A thematic analysis (TA) evaluated the experiences of participants with harmful alcohol regarding the efficacy and acceptability of The Rediscovery Process, a brief, recovery-focused approach for AUD designed to support flourishing and address impulsivity issues. The TA identified two main themes (1) control and (2) flourishing and many participants noted differences between this approach and others and the majority found the intervention effective in reducing alcohol use. This study helps bridge the gap between the more traditional focus of addressing the psychopathology and approaches developing flourishing in AUD and the wider implications are discussed.
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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.