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J Educ Eval Health Prof > Epub ahead of print
J Educ Eval Health Prof. 2018; 15: 2.
Published online January 8, 2018.
[Epub ahead of print]
Contributions of psychological needs, self-compassion, leisure-time exercise, and achievement goals to academic engagement and exhaustion of Canadian medical students
Oksana Babenko1  , Amber Mosewich2  , Joseph Abraham1  , Hollis Lai3 
1Department of Family Medicine, Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada
2Faculty of Kinesiology, Sport, and Recreation, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada
3Department of Dentistry, Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada
Correspondence  Oksana Babenko ,Email:
Editor:  Sun Huh, Hallym University, Korea
Submitted: September 28, 2017  Accepted after revision: January 8, 2018
To investigate contributions of psychological needs (autonomy, competence, relatedness) and coping strategies (self-compassion, leisure-time exercise, achievement goals) to Canadian medical students’ engagement and exhaustion.
This was an observational study. Two hundred undergraduate medical students participated in the study: 60.4% were female; 95.4% were 20-29 years old; 23.0% in year 1, 30.0% in year 2, 21.0% in year 3, and 26.0% in year 4. Students completed an online survey with measures of: engagement and exhaustion from the Oldenburg Burnout Inventory – Student version; autonomy, competence, and relatedness from the Basic Psychological Needs Scale; self-compassion from the Self-Compassion Scale – Short Form; leisure-time exercise from the Godin Leisure-Time Exercise Questionnaire; mastery approach, mastery avoidance, performance approach, and performance avoidance goals from the Achievement Goals Instrument. Descriptive and inferential analyses were performed.
Need for competence was the strongest predictor of student engagement (β=0.35; P=0.000) and exhaustion (β=-0.33; P=0.000). Those students who endorsed mastery approach goals (β=0.21; P=0.005) and who were more self-compassionate (β=0.13; P=0.050) reported greater engagement with their medical studies. Those students who were less self-compassionate (β=-0.32; P=0.000), who exercised less (β=-0.12; P=0.044), and who endorsed mastery avoidance goals (β=0.22; P=0.003) reported greater exhaustion from their studies. Student gender (β=0.18; P=0.005) and year in medical school (β=-0.18; P=0.004) were related to student engagement but not to exhaustion.
Supporting students’ need for competence and raising students’ awareness of self-compassion, leisure-time exercise, and mastery approach goals may help protect students from burnout-related exhaustion and enhance their engagement with their medical school studies.
Keywords: academic burnout; self-determination theory; coping
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