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The current study was conducted to explore the relationship of dispositional mindfulness and its subscales with academic motivation among teenagers of college. This was among the very rare studies done involving mindfulness and its subscales in relation to academic motivation. Data was collected from 10 students of college of Rawalpindi, using purposive sampling technique. An informed consent explaining procedure and purpose of study and assuring confidentiality was signed. Five facet mindfulness questionnaire (FFMQ) and academic motivation scale college version (AMS-CV) was used to collect data. The data was analyzed and Pearson product moment correlation was done using SPSS. The results revealed a positive strong insignificant correlation between dispositional mindfulness and academic motivation. Observing, describing, non-judging and non reactivity had insignificant positive correlation with academic motivation, only acting with awareness was found to have strong significant correlation. The implication of study was that mindfulness interventions should be given in colleges to improve grades and motivation of college students.
In 20th century where humanity advances technologically and intellectually every minute, more and more of us are feeling like our attention and energies are divided and are out of our control. In this continuous shower of technology and evolution, we all have lost our focus on present. Focus is important because it is the gateway to all thinking: perception, memory, learning, reasoning, problem solving, and decision making. The modern industrialized world has shattered and fragmented minds of human beings. “We suffer as a society from scattered brain syndrome, It is everywhere – throughout our work lives and personal lives." said Single tasking author Zack. Mindfulness though, originally a spiritual or pseudoscientific concept, now gaining importance as a scientific construct. A lot of researches have been done on mindfulness to find out how it can improve cognitive functioning. Despite extensive references to mindfulness in the literature, there remains disagreement over how to define this concept. The focus of researches in recent year is the benefits associated with increased mindfulness through training. Cardiovascular health, immune systems, healing time, memory, and most importantly increasing our attention span has been proved to be associated with mindfulness. This review of literature systematically traces back the origin and development of mindfulness and its link with positive psychology.
The science of psychology has been far more developed on the negative than on the positive side. In 1954 Maslow noted that psychology was deeply entrenched in the darker side of mental illness and largely ignored the science of human strengths. He introduced the humanistic approach of psychology that later opened way to positive psychology. The positive psychology paradigm was introduced as an initiative in 1998 by Martin Seligman in his Presidential Address to the American Psychological Association, where he encouraged psychologists to remember psychology’s forgotten mission which is to build human strengths and to cultivate intelligence and positive capabilities (Seligman, 1999). Recently, it has become clear to many clinicians and members of other sub disciplines that normal and supernormal functioning cannot be understood within a purely problem-oriented framework (Strümpfer, 2006). Seligman and Csikszentmihalyi (2000) identified the imbalance and recognized that mental health is more than an absence of mental illness, and thus shifted the emphasis towards positive psychology and re-established a set of assumptions and attributions about health, positive emotions, positive character and traits that support well-being.
Seligman (2000) has brought about a framework where the main principles and aims enhance an understanding of how, why, and under what conditions promotes 3 positivity. (Seligman, Steen, Park, & Peterson, 2005). The positive psychology paradigm works towards the aspects of human functioning which lead to prosperity and enhancement of human mental functioning. At a subjective level, these aspects include well-being, satisfaction, hope, optimism, flow, and happiness. The interdependence and optimal functioning of groups can be better understood through individual’s capacity within a group for responsibility, nurturance, altruism, civility, moderation, tolerance, leadership skills, team work and work ethics. Positive psychology is a broad umbrella which is fundamentally concerned with the scientific understanding of human strengths and intellect. In this positive and humanistic perspective, mindfulness has been explored as a factor contributing to optimal human functioning.Mindfulness practices are similar with much of the theory and practice in positive psychology. A mindful approach can positively influence results and consequences as well as the way they are observed, understood, and processed and in turn leading to higher levels of human functioning and his well-being. (Teodorczuk, 2013).
Mindfulness is our ability to pay attention to any situation we come across and to engage with the present moment in an open, curious, and authentic way, without making a judgment about that particular situation. Brown and Ryan (2003) describe it as a “state of clarity and a vividness of the present moment.” According to Kabat-Zinn (1982) mindfulness is characterized by 4 awareness and acceptance of present moment thoughts, emotions and physical sensations without being judgmental about your own thoughts, emotions and sensations. It can be purposefully developed using secular techniques derived from Buddhist meditation practices.
Originally, mindfulness was a Buddhist practice. It was key aspect of Buddhist fundamental thoughts such as four Noble Truths, The Eightfold Path and Three Poisons. Although deeply rooted in Buddhism now, the concept of mindfulness has been drawing increasing interest within Western society to meet their needs in this modern world. Historically, the arrival of mindfulness to the US is attributed to Jon Kabat-Zinn. Mindfulness based cognitive therapy (MBSR) was introduced by Mark Williams, John Teasdale and Zindel Seagal later in 1990’s to help people suffering from depression. Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) combined CBT with Mindfulness is also being used in clinical practices. Although mindfulness has ancient roots, its modern applications have been neurologically and psychologically proved.
In today’s business and media oriented world – and in organizations across the globe – people are continuously bombarded with a lot of unnecessary news and information. This has shattered their minds and span of their attention. Minds now have been adapted to this continuous fragmentation and have lost the attention to the present moment. We are increasingly required to multi-task yet at the same time less able to 5 focus our attention. This means that people are more stressed and comparatively less able to pay attention to the present which means that we have lost our trait of being mindful and in turn lost our ability to make effective decisions (Dean & Webb, 2011). Mindfulness practices highlight the importance of staying in the present with the aim of liberation from the sufferings. According to recent research, mindfulness can help decision making, enhance individuals’ memory and executive functioning can significantly improve (Zeidan et al., 2010). Mindfulness is linked with improved decision-making (Fiol & O'Connor, 2003), divergent thinking (Colzato et al., 2012), and creative problem solving (Ostafin & Kassman, 2012). Nowadays, Mindfulness has seen an extraordinary increase as a scientific construct. It has become a cornerstone of several psychotherapies, used in medical settings to improve patient outcomes, taught in schools to improve educational and social outcomes, and employed in organizations to improve organizational climate and productivity. Recent interest has emerged for studying the effects of mindfulness on the brain using neuroimaging techniques, physiological measures and behavioral tests. A recent Harvard study showed that through meditation, a mainstay of mindfulness, the brain was able to create new gray matter. Increased gray-matter density in the hippocampus, known to be important for learning and memory, and in structures associated with self-awareness, compassion, and introspection was discovered in this study.
Mindfulness has been conceptualized and studied as both a state i.e. a momentary condition and a personality trait i.e. a stable enduring characteristic. Trait mindfulness, also known as dispositional mindfulness is the focus of our study. The debates concerning mindfulness as a trait or a state characteristic are increasing. Considering the complex nature of mindfulness, it would be hard to imagine it as a singular construct (Grossman, 2008). Growing evidence has indicated that mindfulness practice induces both state and trait changes: that is, it temporarily changes the condition of the brain and the corresponding pattern of activity (state mindfulness), and it also alters personality traits following a longer period of practice (trait mindfulness). Mindfulness as a trait or dispositional mindfulness would be something intrinsically within us. It would be unalterable, similar to how extroversion/introversion are unchanging qualities over time, imbedded in the personality. Kabat-Zinn (2003) explains it is something we do all the time with varying degrees. So conclusively, A state of mindfulness refers to awareness with present moments temporarily without being judgmental to own self. (Adolfsdottir, et al., 2018). Dispositional Mindfulness has been defined by Kabat-Zinn in 1994 as “paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally” all the time even during the ordinary tasks.
Dispositional Mindfulness is an attribute of consciousness that is thought to encourage well-being. It is treated as a trait and is natural and cultivatable cognitive skill that has been seen as associated with psychological well-being in adults and adolescents. First valid and reliable measure of dispositional mindfulness called the Mindful Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS) was developed in 2003. Other measures that measure mindfulness empirically include the Kentucky Inventory of Mindfulness Skills (KIMS), Toronto Mindfulness Scale (TMS), Cognitive and Affective Mindfulness Scale (CAMS), Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ), Freiburg Mindfulness Inventory (FMI) and the Philadelphia Mindfulness Scale (PHLMS). Each of these measures has contributed to a greater ability to study mindfulness on a scientific level. These measures have also allowed researchers to validly measure mindfulness in a variety of ways as a dispositional characteristic (a long lasting trait), an outcome (a state of awareness resulting from mindfulness training), and as a practice. Trait mindfulness, commonly measured via the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ) is positively associated with self-reported optimism, life satisfaction, empathy, positive affect, vitality, sense of autonomy, and self-esteem, and negatively associated with depression, distress, anxiety, rumination, and difficulties with emotion regulation.
Research on dispositional mindfulness clearly characterizes mindfulness as a desirable attribute. Yet still little is known about how it manifests behaviorally in daily life. A paper by Short et al. (2016), aimed to find out how dispositional mindfulness links to executive functioning. Results indicated that the ‘acting with awareness’ and ‘non-judgement of inner experience’ facets of mindfulness positively correlated with total executive function in a sample of students. The authors argued that individuals high in these traits are aware of changes internally and externally, which activate executive functions, allowing them to successfully navigate through different types situations. (Tomlinson, Yousaf, Vittersø, & Jones, 2018). Mindfulness has also been theoretically and empirically associated with psychological well-being (Hayes & Feldman, 2004; Kabat-Zinn, 1990; Lykins & Baer, 2009). The essential elements of mindfulness, namely being aware of one's moment-to-moment experience with non-judgmental acceptance, have been thought to lower levels of psychological distress. (Lykins & Baer, 2009). Studies have reported that mindfulness-based practices were shown to positively correlate with existential (Carmody, Reed, Kristeller, & Merriam, 2008), social, emotional, and psychological well-being (Howell, Digdon, Buro, & Sheptycki, 2008)
In the sphere of education, mindfulness has also been demonstrated effective in different ways. Barnes, Bauza, and Treiber (2003) used a meditation program with students with classroom behavior problems, and found that their class attendance and school behavior improved. 9 Barragán, Lewis, and Palacio (2007) found that mindfulness intervention in a sample of university students improved their ability to focus and sustain attention, to follow a stimulus closely and to manage distraction in a more effective way.
Academic performance refers to the amount of individual school learning that is measured through various tests. In general, academic performance refers to the success of students in academic subjects. (McCloskey, 2015). According to Mouw and Khanna (1993) there is a considerable variance in college GPA that cannot only be explained by the traditional pre-college results. Various studies have been conducted to find the factors related to academic achievement. Robbins et al. (2004) identified three types of predictors: traditional (pre college results and grades), demographic (gender, social and ethnic background, class and age), and psychosocial factors (personality, levels of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation). To predict one’s academic achievement in college, a descriptive approach is a valuable one. Such approaches integrate more aspects, such as the five-factor personality model or the intrinsic–extrinsic theory of motivation. The personality factor most repeatedly linked to academic achievement is conscientiousness. (e.g., Higgins, Peterson, & Rihl, 2007 Noftle & Robins, 2007).
Motivation comes from the Latin word moveo, meaning to move, stir, agitate, provoke, or affect. Academic motivation is defined by a student's desire (as reflected in 10 approach, persistence, and level of interest) regarding academic subjects when the student's competence is judged against a standard of performance or excellence (McClelland, et al., 1953). Academic motivation involves internal processes that instigate and sustain activities aimed at achieving specific academic goals (Pintrich & Zusho, 2002). Motivation often conceptualized as the fundamental “why” of any behavior. Academic motivation asks the question “Why do you go to college?” (Vallerand, Pelletier, Blais, Briere, Senecal & Vallieres, 1992). It has become an important and interesting construct now a days in field of educational psychology.(Turner & Patrick, 2008). Academic motivation is close to the term ´motivation to learn`. Krapp (1993) clarifies that motivation to learn provides an explanation for the look and evolvement of mastering things. Academic motivation is a significant issue for psychologists and individuals in the field of educational psychology because it has been correlated with academic self-concept and academic self-efficacy (Bong & Skaalvik, 2003), academic as well as career success in later life. Motivation for academic achievement is very important factor. Motivation is considered as one of the main predictor of academic success in school as well as college students. The relationship between motivation and school success is well established by researchers working in education domain of psychology (Pintrich&Schunk, 1996). However, the degree of academic motivation depends largely on choices and expectations of the students and that whether or not they meet the different standards and expectations (Clark & Schroth, 2010). 11 It is generally agreed that motivation is beneficial for learning and achievement: Motivated students invest more time in their courses (Pintrich, 2003a; Pintrich & Schunk,2002) and are more likely to complete their study programs, whereas there are more chances of unmotivated students being drop out (Vallerand & Bissonnette, 1992). During the past several decades, increasing number of studies have examined motivational foundations of student behavior, and the empirical findings of their studies were the evidence of a strong relationship between students’ motivation and their academic functioning and achievement (Wentzel, 1999; Wigﬁeld et al., 2006). Researches consistently prove that the academically motivated students tend to perceive school as valuable resource and are likely to learn more and enjoy learning activities.
Motivation theories are founded on assumptions about human nature (Deci & Ryan, 1985). Deci and Ryan (2002) divided motivation into three categories: amotivation, extrinsic motivation, and intrinsic motivation (Deci & Ryan, 2002).
• Amotivation involves not having a motivation and purpose to act and generally leads to negative academic outcomes. Amotivation takes the lack of motivation and the observation of the individual’s inability to sense the conditions between his or her actions and consequences as reference (Ratelle, Guay, Vallerand, Larose, & Sene´cal, 2007).
• Intrinsic motivation refers to the students motivated with internalized goals such as contentment, self peace or they perceive education as source of their personal 12 development and grooming. It depends on the innate need for competence and self-determination. It provides the fuel for various behaviors and psychological processes.
• Extrinsic motivation is regulated through external circumstances and characterized by external reinforcement, need for identification and approval, and for avoidance of punishments and for gaining rewards.
Self-determination theory is a concept included in intrinsic motivation. Self-determination often includes results or one’s environmental control and choices (Deci & Ryan, 1985). Self-determination theory takes personal growth, self arrangement, global psychological needs, purpose of living, longings, energy and validity, unaware periods, cultural relations for motivation and effects of motivation on social environments as reference (Deci & Ryan, 2008). SDT also suggests that different types of motivation relate to people’s satisfaction with their sense of competence, relatedness, and autonomy, which are considered to be innate, basic psychological needs (Deci & Ryan, 2000). People need to feel that they freely choose their behaviour (i.e., autonomy), have close connections with others (i.e., relatedness), and are effective in the activities they undertake (i.e., competence).
Student’s academic motivation and achievement depends on various factors, including age, gender, social background, parental and social expectations. 13 A study conducted by Momanyi1, Jackson and Simiyu in 2015 attempted to explore effect of age on students academic motivation. The results showed that the youngest students (12 to 15 years) had the highest scores in the academic motivation while the oldest (20 to 23 years) have higher scores. While those of age group 16 to 19 had the lowest scores in academic motivation. Authors suggested that this maybe due to distractions of fifth psycho sexual stage. The reasons maybe different but however, the dependence of academic motivation on age was confirmed. In case of language acquisition, Fathman (1975), found that in the first year of study, 11- to 15-year-olds were significantly better at acquiring English as a second language than 6- to 10-year-olds in pronunciation, morphology, and syntax. In other study done to investigate motivation and achievement of students learning English predicted the same relationship. The data was collected by learners' motivation, an adapted questionnaire consisting of 44 statements, constructed by Schmidt and Watanabe (2001). The results demonstrate a significant relationship between age and motivation. The ten-year-olds had the highest motivation for learning English as a second language, while the eighteen-year-olds had the lowest motivation. Also, the ten-year-olds also scored the highest scores in English that proved significant correlation between academic motivation and achievement.
Motivational theories today not only consider cognitive factors but also personal and contextual variables that can affect the levels of motivation and gender is very 14 important factors amongst these. Theories and researches have consistently underlined gender as a factor in academics. The difference ranges from attributional patterns to levels of extrinsic and intrinsic motivations. Studies found that girls tend to give more emphasis on effort and (Lightbody et. al., 1996) while boys focus attribute more in luck and abilities (Burgner & hewstone. 1993). Specifically in domains of motivation, boys tends to have higher degrees of extrinsic motivation (Anderman & Anderman, 1999; Midgley & Urdan, 1995; Urdan et. al., 1998) however girls are motivated more by internal goals and intrinsic motivation (Meece & Holt, 1993). Rusillo and Aria (2004) done an extensive study on the same topic, with 521 secondary school students, found gender differences in terms of causal attributions of failure, academic goals, motivation and significant learning strategy. Results suggested that cognitive motivational factors differ in both gender with girls having lower levels of extrinsic motivation and vice versa. Another study was done to determine undergraduates’ academic motivation in terms of gender, domain and grade difference. The participants of the study consisted of 750 undergraduates studying in different departments. “Academic Motivation Scale”, originally developed by Vallerand et al. (1992) was used to collect data. t-test analysis revealed the significant differences in undergraduates’ academic motivation based on their gender (Hakan & Munire, 2014).
A study by Teodorczuk (2013) was designed to determine whether a relationship exists between self-reported mindfulness and academic achievement in south African students. Additionally, the study aimed to assess the predictive quality of mindfulness towards academic achievement. Sample at the University of Johannesburg (FFMQ; Baer, Smith, Hopkins, Krietemeyer, & Toney, 2006). The students’ Final Course Mark (FCM) was used to operationalise academic achievement. Results indicated a significant correlation of mindfulness with the FCM. Heshmati and Pellerone (2018) conducted a descriptive correlative study to find out relationship between dispositional mindfulness, self criticism and academic achievement. The GPA, Freiburg mindfulness inventory, The Levels of Self-Criticism Scale and Depressive Experiences Questionnaire (DEQ) were used for data collecting. The results proved that there is positively significant correlation between mindfulness and academic performance.
Mindfulness has been proved to enhance individuals’ memory and executive functioning (Zeidan et al., 2010). It is also linked with improved decision-making (Fiol & O'Connor, 2003), divergent thinking (Colzato et al., 2012), and creative problem solving (Ostafin & Kassman, 2012). It is also theoretically and empirically associated with psychological well-being (Hayes & Feldman, 2004; Kabat-Zinn, 1990; Lykins & Baer, 2009). Studies have also proved positive correlation between academic achievement and mindfulness (Teodorczuk, 2013; Heshmati & Pellerone, 2018) but there lies still a space for academic motivation to be studied. It is to be noted that, the surveys and researches involving mindfulness as a trait and its relation to academic motivation are very rare. As mindfulness is newly emerging topic of study there is no such literature is available specifically in Pakistani context. The purpose of the present study was to address this gap by finding the relationship between dispositional mindfulness and academic motivation among college students. The study also aimed to find out relationship of different subscale of mindfulness i.e observing, describing, acting with awareness, non-judging and non reactivity with academic motivation.
1. To determine levels of academic motivation in college students.
2. To determine levels of dispositional mindfulness in teenagers of college.
3. To find out the relationship between academic motivation and dispositional mindfulness among college students.
4. To evaluate relationship between subscales of mindfulness i.e observing, describing, acting with awareness, non-judging and non reactivity with levels of academic motivation.
1. There will be positive correlation between mindfulness and academic motivation.
2. All subscales of mindfulness observing, describing, acting with awareness, non-judging and non reactivity will have positive correlation with academic motivation.
Dispositional mindfulness can be defined as paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally (Kabat-Zinn J. 1994). This variable is operationalized by five factor multi facet mindfulness questionnaire (FFMQ) that asseses levels of dispositional mindfulness by using five subscales. Scoring is done by adding all subscales. Higher overall scores of FFMQ indicate higher level of mindfulness and vice versa.
Academic motivation is defined by a student's desire (as reflected in approach, persistence, and level of interest) regarding academic subjects when the student's competence is judged against a standard of performance or excellence (McClelland, 1953). This is measured by academic motivation scale for college students (AMS-C 28). Mean is considered as cut off. Higher scores indicate higher level of motivations.
Sample was consisted of 10 college students (n=10) of age ranging between16 to 19. The sample was 50% males (n=5) and 50% females (n=5) with mean age of 17.900 (SD=0.99443). The sample was approached without regard of their race, ethnicity, field of study (program) and students’ grades. The sampling technique was purposive and the only inclusion criterion was based on gender and age. The sample was approached from Roots international schools- Richmond campus after taking permission from their academic coordinator.
The Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ) was developed by Baer, Smith, Hopkins, Krietemeyer and Toney in 2006. It assesses levels of mindfulness on the basis of five elements of mindfulness: observing, describing, acting with awareness, non-judging of inner experience, and non-reactivity to inner experience. It is a 39-item self report inventory with few reverse scored items that can be filled in 15 minutes. Each item is rated on a likert scale ranging from 1(rarely true) to 5(always true). Scale has high reliability; it is the most comprehensive mindfulness measure to date as it combines items from 5 other mindfulness scales. The five factors displayed adequate to good internal consistency with alpha values ranging from .75 (Nonreactivity) to .91 (Describing).
The Academic Motivation Scale (AMS) measures extrinsic and intrinsic motivation toward education based on self determination theory. It was originally developed by Vallerand in 1989 and most recent revised version was developed in 1992. It consists of 28-items that can be filled in 15-20 minutes. Items are rated on seven point likert type scale ranging from 1(does not corresponds) to 7(corresponds exactly). overall scoring id based of 7 subscales; Intrinsic motivation to know and learn, intrinsic motivation towards achievement, intrinsic motivation to experience stimulation, extrinsic motivation of rewards and constraints, introjected regulation, internalization of extrinsic motives and amotivation. Scales showed high validity. Internal consistency was reported for all seven subscales (average alpha = 0.81, min=0.62, max=0.91). Test-retest reliability for one-month period was 0.79 (min=0.71, max=0.83).
The demographic table above shows the frequencies and percentages of demographic variables among entire sample. For age groups, the highest amount of data was collected from sample age raging from 18-19 while comparatively lesser from age range of 16-17. As for level, major portion of sample (90%) was from 1st year of their college. For gender, the sample was equal among both genders.
Descriptive statistics of Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ), its subscales and academic motivation scale-college version (AMS-CV) among teenagers.
(N=10) The above table shows the descriptive statistics (means and standard deviation) of the total scores of dispositional mindfulness and its subscales as well as academic motivation.
Correlation between all the variables (N=10)
The table 3 indicates the correlation coefficient between dispositional mindfulness and academic motivation among entire sample. A strong positive but insignificant correlation (r=.42) has been found between both variables which means as dispositional mindfulness increases, the academic motivation will also increases and vice versa.
Correlation of all subscale of FFMQ with Academic motivation. (N=10)
The above table shows the Pearson product moment correlation of five subscales of mindfulness with academic motivation among the sample of 10 students. All the subscales i.e observing, describing, acting with awareness, non judging and non reactivity were found to be positively correlated with academic motivation. Observing and non judging showed weak insignificant positive correlation, describing and non reactivity showed weak insignificant positive correlation while acting with awareness showed strong positive significant correlation with academic motivation.
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