How Incivility and Academic Stress Influence Psychological Health Among College Students: The Moderating Role of Gratitude

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 May 6;17(9):3237. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17093237.


Many students suffer from academic stress and uncivil behaviors at colleges and there is a need to identify to what extent these negative phenomena might impact students' mental health. The main purpose of this study is to examine the relationships between incivility, academic stress, and psychological health, as well as investigate the moderating role of gratitude. The study design of this research is cross-sectional. The final sample consisted of 895 university students in China; The Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) version 22 was utilized to conduct statistical analysis. Sample t-tests were used to examine whether there were gender differences in terms of four continuous variables: incivility, stress, gratitude, and psychological wellbeing. We also used multiple hierarchical linear regression analysis to test the relationships between the aforementioned four variables and the moderating effect of gratitude. The results of our study indicate that academic stress and incivility are positively associated with psychological distress, and gratitude moderates the relationship between incivility and psychological distress. However, no significant moderating effect of gratitude was found in the relationship between academic stress and psychological distress.

Keywords: China; academic stress; college students; gratitude; incivility; psychological health.