Study Crafting and Self-Undermining in Higher Education Students: A Weekly Diary Study on the Antecedents

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 Jul 2;18(13):7090. doi: 10.3390/ijerph18137090.


The aim of the current study is to validate the adaptation of the job demands-resources theory to the study context. In addition, we introduce the concepts study crafting and self-undermining to the study demands-resources framework by examining the mediating role of engagement and exhaustion in the relationship between study characteristics and study crafting and self-undermining. Over four consecutive weeks, 205 higher education students answered a questionnaire about their weekly study demands and resources, their well-being (i.e., engagement, exhaustion), and their study crafting and self-undermining behaviors. Multilevel structural equation modeling (controlling for autoregressors of mediators and dependent variables from the previous week) demonstrated a positive relationship between study resources and study crafting mediated by engagement, as well as a positive relationship between study demands and self-undermining mediated by exhaustion. Our findings show that even short-term fluctuations in study characteristics affect students' well-being and, in turn, their proactive and dysfunctional behaviors. Accordingly, universities should provide a resource-rich study environment and limit study demands as much as possible. Furthermore, our results demonstrate that students can also actively influence their study environment themselves.

Keywords: higher education students; self-undermining; student burnout; student engagement; study characteristics; study crafting; study demands–resources framework.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Students*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Universities*