Self-Compassion, Sense of Belonging, and Adaptive Coping: The Role of Protective Mental Health Factors in Undergraduate College Students' Psychosocial Well-Being

Date
2021
Authors
Geraci, Caitlyn
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Abstract

There is a strong body of literature indicating that college students are experiencing increasing levels of depression, anxiety, and stress. This was true before the pandemic, which has only increased the personal and economic stress for students as universities closed and students were forced to complete their studies online, often in isolation. The majority of research surrounding stress and coping has focused on stressors that may negatively impact students' mental health and academic success. More research is needed on psychosocial factors that may play a role in student protective mental health factors as they deal with stressors. The current study explored the role of self-compassion, sense of belonging, and adaptive and maladaptive coping as they relate to common risk factors associated with the well-being of undergraduate students enrolled at The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA). The primary aim was to determine how protective mental health factors affect students' depression, anxiety, and stress levels. Additionally, we examined how interactions among self-compassion, sense of belonging, and adaptive coping affect risk factors in students' psychosocial well-being. It was hypothesized that higher levels of self-compassion, perceived belonging, and adaptive coping would be associated with lower levels of depression, anxiety, and stress in college undergraduate students. Further, it was hypothesized that these factors would interact synergistically and be inversely related to common risk factors in the student sample. An additional aim was to determine how maladaptive coping works independently and in conjunction with protective mental health factors in affecting risk factors in students' psychosocial well-being. For this purpose, we examined how interactions among self-compassion, sense of belonging, and maladaptive coping affect students' levels of depression, anxiety, and stress. It was hypothesized that higher levels of maladaptive coping would be associated with higher levels of depression, anxiety, and stress students. Further, it was hypothesized that these factors would interact such that higher levels of self-compassion and belonging would weaken the effect of high maladaptive coping on depression, anxiety, and stress. Inferential statistics and hierarchical regression analysis were used to examine these hypotheses. Data from this cross-sectional, observational study has the potential to provide information regarding the role that self-compassion, sense of belonging, and adaptive coping might play in interventions supporting student mental health and academic success.

Description
This item is available only to currently enrolled UTSA students, faculty or staff.
Keywords
Research, Exercise, Behavior, Sleep, Physical fitness, Failure, Success, Risk factors, Anxieties, Emotions, Hispanic Americans, Young adults, Motivation, Perceptions, Social support, Stress, Coping, Hypotheses, Drug use, College students, Pain, Mental depression, Mental health, Learning, Higher education, Adaptive coping, College student mental health, Psychosocial well-being, Self-compassion, Sense of belonging, Student academic success
Citation
Department
Psychology