Research

Working Papers

Long, P. & Neff, K. “Fear of evaluation mediates the relation between self-compassion and student communication behavior.” Under review at Communication Education.

Abstract: Student communication behaviors, such as participating in class discussions, asking questions, seeking help from others, and speaking with instructors outside of the classroom are associated with a variety of learning indicators, including increased knowledge and comprehension, academic performance, motivation, and interest in classroom materials. This study investigated whether self-compassion (the tendency to be mindful and kind to oneself and to recognize one’s common humanity) is related to an increase in adaptive student communication behavior. In general, as college student self-compassion scores increased, classroom apprehension about participation decreased, and the likelihood that a student would ask questions, seek help, and speak with their instructor improved. Additionally, students’ fears of negative and positive evaluation mediated the relation between self-compassion and these communication variables. The results suggest that self-compassion may be a source of resilience in students’ affective experiences and behaviours related to verbal communication.  Although experimental research should explore the causal connection between self-compassion and these communication variables, self-compassion practices may be beneficial in interventions designed to decrease student communication apprehension and fear of evaluation and increase communication behaviors.

Park, J., Long, P., & Choe, N. “Mitigating the conflict students experience with group projects through self-compassion and compassion to others.” Paper presented at roundtable discussion for the 2017 American Educational Research Association Conference. San Antonio, TX.

Group project assignments have become popular in college-level instruction, making group chemistry and harmony crucial for students’ learning. Because the nature of group projects highlights collaborative work, it is common for students to experience conflict among team members for various reasons, thereby hindering their learning and motivation to participate in the project. Such negative motivational consequences of what is termed intragroup conflict for this study may be mitigated by group members’ responses to the conflict. This study explored the role of compassion (self-compassion and compassion to others) in college students’ motivational and emotional experiences when intragroup conflict among team members was perceived. From an initial model of students’ various motivational goals for the group project, measures of intragroup conflict (in a second step) and of self-compassion and compassion to others (in a third step) were added to predictions of students’ project commitment and emotions. Three hierarchical multiple regressions showed that goals explained a significant amount of variance in project commitment and positive and negative emotions. A measure of conflict improved predictions significantly as did adding measures of self-compassion and compassion to others. The final model for project commitment showed that significant contributors were intragroup conflict (in a negative direction) and compassion to others (positive direction). Positive emotions were predicted only by self-compassion, whereas negative emotions were predicted by intragroup conflict (positively), self-compassion (negatively), and compassion to others (negatively).