Park, J., Long, P., Choe, N, & Schallert, D. (2018). The contribution of self-compassion and compassion to others to students’ emotions and project commitment when experiencing conflict in group projects. International Journal of Educational Research, 88, 20-30.

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).

The forest and the trees: Examining the factor structure of the self-compassion scale and the association of its positive and negative components with psychological functioning. Neff, K., Long, P., Knox, M.C., Davidson, O., Kuchar, A., Costigan, A., Williamson, Z., Tóth-Király, I., & Breines, J.G. (2018). In Press at Self and Identity. 

This paper examines whether self-compassion should be measured as an overall construct, or if its positive and negative components should be measured separately. Study One examined the factor structure of the Self-Compassion Scale (SCS) and found support for use of a total score and six subscale scores, but not separate positive and negative scores. It also examined the association of positive and negative components with psychopathology, positive well-being, emotional intelligence, self-concept, body image, motivation, and interpersonal functioning, and found that while negative components had a stronger link to negative emotionality and self-evaluation, they were equivalent predictors in other domains. Study Two found positive and negative components equally predicted sympathetic nervous system and inflammatory activity after stress. Findings support measuring self-compassion as an overall construct.

Long, P. & Neff, K. Self-compassion is associated with reduced self-presentation concerns and increased communication behavior. Under review at Learning and Individual Differences.

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. 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 behaviors 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.