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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.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.3352/jeehp.2018.15.2
[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: oksana.babenko@ualberta.ca
Editor:  Sun Huh, Hallym University, Korea
Submitted: September 28, 2017  Accepted after revision: January 8, 2018
Abstract
Purpose:
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.
Method:
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.
Results:
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.
Conclusion:
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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