The Mediating Role of Psychological Capital Between Academic Stress and Well-Being Among University Students
Keywords:psychological capital, academic stress, well-being, structural equation model, undergraduate students
In the current study, we investigated the relationships among academic stress, psychological capital (PsyCap), and well-being and the effect of the demographic variables of gender, majors, and academic years on academic stress and PsyCap. We used the structural equation model to investigate the mediating role of PsyCap between academic stress and well-being. The participants (N = 827) included students from a midsized university in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia (636 females, 191 males) who comprised 450 science and 377 humanities majors from all academic years. To collect data, we utilized the Academic Stress Inventory, the Psychological Capital Questionnaire, and the Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-Being Questionnaire. The results of the structural equation model analysis revealed that PsyCap was a full mediator between academic stress and well-being. In addition, the academic years affected academic stress; specifically, academic stress decreased as students progressed through their academic years. Furthermore, the academic majors affected PsyCap: Students in the humanities majors had better PsyCap than those in the science majors. Therefore, science majors in their first academic year were the most in need of a PsyCap-based intervention.
Akgun, S., & Ciarrochi, J. (2003). Learned resourcefulness moderates the relationship between academic stress and academic performance. Educational Psychology, 23(3), 287–294.
Avey, J. B., Luthans, F., Smith, R. M., & Palmer, N. F. (2010). Impact of positive psychological capital on employee well-being over time. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 15(1), 17–28. https://doi:10.1037/a0016998
Avey, J. B., Wernsing, T. S., & Mhatre, K. H. (2011). A longitudinal analysis of positive psychological constructs and emotions on stress, anxiety, and well-being. Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies, 18(2), 216–228. https://doi.org/10.1177/1548051810397368 %0A%0A
Awad, F. B., & Mayasari, R. (2015). Subjective well-being, psychological well-being, and Islamic religiosity. International Journal of Science and Research (IJSR), 4(12), 1168–1173. https://doi.org/10.21275/v4i12.NOV152116
Basith, A., Syahputra, A., Fitriyadi, S., Rosmaiyadi, R., Fitri, F., & Neni Triani, S. (2021). Academic stress and coping strategy in relation to academic achievement. Jurnal Cakrawala Pendidikan, 40(2), 292–304.
Bodeker, G., Pecorelli, S., Choy, L., Guerra, R., & Kariippanon, K. (2020). Well-being and mental wellness. In Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Global Public Health. Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/acrefore/9780190632366.013.162
Byrne, B. M. (2010). Structural equation modeling with AMOS: Basic concepts, applications, and programming (2nd ed.). Routledge Academic.
Carter, J. W., & Youssef-Morgan, C. (2022). Psychological capital development effectiveness of face-to-face, online, and micro-learning interventions. Education and Information Technologies, 1–23. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10639-021-10824-5
Carver, C. S., Scheier, M. F., & Segerstrom, S. C. (2010). Optimism. Clinical Psychology Review, 30(7), 879–889. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cpr.2010.01.006
Chua, R. Y., Ng, Y. L., & Park, M. S.-A. (2018). Mitigating academic distress: The role of psychological capital in a collectivistic Malaysian university student sample. Open Psychology Journal, 11(1), 171–183. https://doi.org/10.2174/1874350101811010171
Datu, J. A. D., & Valdez, J. P. M. (2015). Psychological capital predicts academic engagement and well-being in Filipino high school students. The Asia-Pacific Education Researcher, 25(3), 399–405. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40299-015-0254-1
De la Fuente, J., Pachón-Basallo, M., Santos, F. H., Peralta-Sánchez, F. J., González-Torres, M. C., Artuch-Garde, R., Paoloni, P. V., & Gaetha, M. L. (2021). How has the COVID-19 crisis affected the academic stress of university students? The role of teachers and students. Frontiers in Psychology, 12, 1–16. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.626340
Dixon, S. K., & Kurpius, S. E. R. (2008). Depression and college stress among university undergraduates: Do mattering and self-esteem make a difference? Journal of College Student Development, 49(5), 412–424. https://doi.org/10.1353/csd.0.0024
Finney, S. J., & DiStefano, C. (2006). Nonnormal and categorical data in structural equation modeling. In G. R. Hancock & R. O. Mueller (Eds.), A second course in structural equation modeling (pp. 269 –314). Information Age.
Hayes, A. F., & Coutts, J. J. (2020). Use omega rather than Cronbach’s alpha for estimating reliability. But . . . , . Communication Methods and Measures, 14(1), 1–24.
Hazan Liran, B., & Miller, P. (2017). The role of psychological capital in academic adjustment among university students. Journal of Happiness Studies, 20(1), 51–65. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-017-9933-3
Heikkilä, A., Lonka, K., Nieminen, J., & Niemivirta, M. (2012). Relations between teacher students’ approaches to learning, cognitive and attributional strategies, well-being, and study success. Higher Education, 64(4), 455–471. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10734-012-9504-9
Huppert, F. A. (2009). Psychological well-being: Evidence regarding its causes and consequences. Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being, 1(2), 137–164. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1758-0854.2009.01008.x
Jiang, Y. (2021). Problematic social media usage and anxiety among university students during the COVID-19 pandemic: The mediating role of psychological capital and the moderating role of academic burnout. Frontiers in Psychology, 12, 1–12. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.612007
Kahneman, D., Diener, E., & Schwarz, N. (1999). Well-being: Foundations of hedonic psychology. Russell Sage Foundation.
Keyes, C. L. M. (2005). Mental illness and/or mental health? Investigating axioms of the complete state model of health. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 73(3), 539–548. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-006X.73.3.539
Kline, R. B. (2005). Principles and practice of structural equation modeling (3rd ed.). Guilford Press.
Lee, S. M., & Oh, Y. (2017). The mediator role of perceived stress in the relationship between academic stress and depressive symptoms among e-learning students with visual impairments. Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness, 111(2), 123–134. https://doi.org/10.1177/0145482X1711100204
Lin, Y. M., & Chen, F. S. (2009). Academic stress inventory of students at universities and colleges of technology. World Transactions on Engineering and Technology Education, 7(2), 157–162.
Linton, M.-J., Dieppe, P., & Medina-Lara, A. (2016). Review of 99 self-report measures for assessing well-being in adults: Exploring dimensions of well-being and developments over time. BMJ Open, 6(7), e010641. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2015-010641
Luştrea, A., Al Ghazi, L., & Predescu, M. (2018). Adapting and validating Ryff’s psychological well-being scale on Romanian student population. Education 21, 16, 117–126. https://doi.org/10.24193/ed21.2018.16.15
Luthans, B. C., Luthans, K. W., & Avey, J. B. (2013). Building the leaders of tomorrow: The development of academic psychological capital. Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies, 21(2), 191–199. https://doi.org/10.1177/1548051813517003
Luthans, B. C., Luthans, K. W., & Jensen, S. M. (2012). The impact of business school students’ psychological capital on academic performance. Journal of Education for Business, 87(5), 253–259. https://doi.org/10.1080/08832323.2011.609844
Luthans, F., & Youssef-Morgan, C. M. (2017). Psychological capital: An evidence-based positive approach. Annual Review of Organizational Psychology and Organizational Behavior, 4(1), 339–366. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-orgpsych-032516-113324
Luthans, F., Avey, J. B., Avolio, B. J., & Peterson, S. J. (2010). The development and resulting performance impact of positive psychological capital. Human Resource Development Quarterly, 21(1), 41–67. https://doi.org/10.1002/hrdq.20034
Luthans, F., Avolio, B. J., & Youssef, C. M. (2007). Psychological capital: Developing the human competitive edge. Oxford University Press.
Luthans, F., Avolio, B. J., Avey, J. B., & Norman, S. M. (2007). Positive psychological capital: Measurement and relationship with performance and satisfaction. Personnel Psychology, 60(3), 541–572. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1744-6570.2007.00083.x
Luthans, F., Vogelgesang, G. R., & Lester, P. B. (2006). Developing the psychological capital of resiliency. Human Resource Development Review, 5(1), 25–44. https://doi.org/10.1177/1534484305285335
Luthans, F., Youssef-Morgan, C. M., & Avolio, B. J. (2015). Psychological capital and beyond. Oxford University Press.
Magyar, J. L., & Keyes, C. L. M. (2019). Defining, measuring, and applying subjective well-being. In M. W. Gallagher & S. J. Lopez (Eds.), Positive psychological assessment: A handbook of models and measures (pp. 389–415). American Psychological Association. https://doi.org/10.1037/0000138-025
Malik, M., Saidin, N., Abd Wab, R., & Nordin, N. (2020). Investigating the relationship between stress and psychological well-being among foundation students of UiTM. International Journal of Academic Research in Business and Social Sciences, 10(14), 93–101. https://doi.org/10.6007/IJARBSS/v10-i14/7366
Neuman, W. L. (2005). Social research methods: Qualitative and quantitative approaches. Pearson Education.
Peterson, C. (2000). The future of optimism. American Psychologist, 55(1), 44–55. https://doi:10.1037/0003-066x.55.1.44
Poots, A., & Cassidy, T. (2020). Academic expectation, self-compassion, psychological capital, social support, and student wellbeing. International Journal of Educational Research, 99, 101506. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijer.2019.101506
Prasath, P. R., Mather, P. C., Bhat, C. S., & James, J. K. (2021). University student well-being during COVID-19: The role of psychological capital and coping strategies. The Professional Counselor, 11(1), 46–60. https://doi.org/10.15241/prp.11.1.46
Preacher, K. J., & Hayes, A. F. (2008). Asymptotic and resampling strategies for assessing and comparing indirect effects in multiple mediator models. Behavior Research Methods, 40(3), 879–891. https://doi.org/10.3758/BRM.40.3.879
Rad, M., Shomoossi, N., Rakhshani, M. H., & Sabzevari, M. T. (2017). Psychological capital and academic burnout in students of clinical majors in Iran. Acta Facultatis Medicae Naissensis, 34(4), 311–319. https://doi.org/10.1515/afmnai-2017-0035
Riolli, L., Savicki, V., & Richards, J. (2012). Psychological capital as a buffer to student stress. Psychology, 3(12A), 1202–1207. https://doi.org/10.4236/psych.2012.312A178
Ruggeri, K., Garcia-Garzon, E., Maguire, Á., Matz, S., & Huppert, F. A. (2020). Well-being is more than happiness and life satisfaction: A multidimensional analysis of 21 countries. Health and Quality of Life Outcomes, 18(1), 192. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12955-020-01423-y
Ryan, M. E., & Twibell, R. S. (2000). Concerns, values, stress, coping, health, and educational outcomes of college students who studied abroad. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 24(4), 409–435. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0147-1767(00)00014-6
Snyder, C. R. (2002). Hope theory: Rainbows in the mind. Psychological Inquiry, 13, 249–275. doi:10.1207/s15327965pli1304_01
Snyder, C. R., Harris, C., Anderson, J. R., Holleran, S. A., Irving, L. M., Sigmon, S. T., Yoshinobu, L., Gibb, J., Langelle, C., & Harney, P. (1991). The will and the ways: Development and validation of an individual-differences measure of hope. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 60(4), 570–585. doi:10.1037/0022-35188.8.131.520
Tennant, R., Hiller, L., Fishwick, R., Platt, S., Joseph, S., Weich, S., Parkinson, J., Secker, J., & Stewart-Brown, S. (2007). The Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-Being Scale (WEMWBS): Development and UK validation. Health and Quality of Life Outcomes, 5(1), 63. https://doi.org/10.1186/1477-7525-5-63
Wang, J., Bu, L., Li, Y., Song, J., & Li, N. (2021). The mediating effect of academic engagement between psychological capital and academic burnout among nursing students during the COVID-19 pandemic: A cross-sectional study. Nurse Education Today, 102, 104938. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nedt.2021.104938
Waterman, A. S. (1993). Two conceptions of happiness: Contrasts of personal expressiveness (eudaimonia) and hedonic enjoyment. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 64(4), 678–691. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-35184.108.40.2068
You, J. W. (2016). The relationship among college students’ psychological capital, learning empowerment, and engagement. Learning and Individual Differences, 49, 17–24.
Youssef-Morgan, C. M., & Luthans, F. (2015). Psychological capital and well-being. Stress and Health, 31(3), 180–188. https://doi.org/10.1002/smi.2623
Yovita, M., & Asih, S. R. (2018). The effects of academic stress and optimism on subjective well-being among first-year undergraduates. In A. A. Ariyanto, H. Muluk, P. Newcombe, F. P. Piercy, E. K. Poerwandari, S. Hartati, & R. Suradijono (Eds.), Diversity in unity: Perspectives from psychology and behavioral sciences (pp. 559–563). Routledge. https://doi.org/10.1201/9781315225302-70
Zhong, L., & Ren, H. (2009). The relationship between academic stress and psychological distress: The moderating effects of psychological capital. 2009 International Conference on Management Science and Engineering, 1087–1091. https://doi.org/10.1109/ICMSE.2009.5318122
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2023 Pegem Journal of Education and Instruction
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
Attribution — You must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use.
NonCommercial — You may not use the material for commercial purposes.
No additional restrictions — You may not apply legal terms or technological measures that legally restrict others from doing anything the license permits.