The role of self-compassion in student communication apprehension and behavior

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Long, Phoebe

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Self-compassion refers to being kind to one's self, feeling connected to others, and being mindfully aware of one’s experience during moments of difficulty. This study tested the hypothesis that self-compassion would be inversely related to student communication apprehension, or the tendency to experience anxiety in communication scenarios, and positively related to adaptive student communication behaviors such as question-asking, help-seeking, and out-of-class communication. A small but significant correlation between self-compassion and student communication apprehension and adaptive academic communication behaviors was found. In general, as college student self-compassion scores increased, communication apprehension scores decreased, and the likelihood that a student would ask questions, seek help, and speak with their instructor improved. Additionally, it was evident that students' concerns with being negatively perceived by others (fear of negative evaluation) and student beliefs in their ability to learn and perform (academic self-efficacy) mediated the relation between self-compassion and many of these communication variables. The results suggest that self-compassion may be a source of resilience throughout students' affective experiences and behaviors related to communicating with others. Although experimental research needs to be carried out to explore the causal connection between self-compassion and these communication variables, educators may want to consider including self-compassion practices in interventions and curriculum designed to decrease student communication apprehension and increase communication behaviors.



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