Kuram ve Uygulamada Eğitim Bilimleri • Educational Sciences: Theory & Practice 13(4) • 2087-2104



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SARICAOĞLU, ARSLAN / An Investigation into Psychological Well-being Levels of Higher Education Students with Respect...

2099


to experience prolonged negative feelings and 

develop various behavioural pathologies. They have 

difficulty in establishing and maintaining relations 

with others. They experience stress for extended 

periods of time (Bruck & Allen, 2003). Emotionally 

stable individuals, on the other hand, are quiet 

and they are content with themselves (Friedman 

& Schustack, 1999); they are agreeable and highly 

self-confident. In addition, they tend to experience 

positive emotions (McCrae & John, 1992). 

Agreeable people are friendly, cooperative, reliable 

and warm. They are individuals who are humble, 

supportive, flexible, and they establish emotional 

bonds with others (McCrae & John, 1992). Highly 

agreeable people are defined as reliable, easy-going, 

frank, altruistic and modest individuals (Judge 

et al., 2002). Responsibility as a personality trait 

signifies a personality dimension that involves 

such properties as obedience, orderliness, self-

discipline and being achievement-oriented. 

People with a strong sense of responsibility are 

disciplined and careful, and they possess a strong 

sense of achievement, while those with a weak 

sense of responsibility are considered to be careless, 

messy and lazy people (Costa & McCrae, 1992). 

We think that this dimension is linked with such 

properties as having powerful imagination, being 

knowledgeable, having curiosity for learning; being 

original, straightforward, quick-witted and having 

the sensitivity of an artist (Barrick & Mount, 1991). 

The individuals who have the quality of openness 

to experience are considered to be imaginative, 

adventurous, original, creative, curious, while it 

is thought that those individuals who are slightly 

open to experience resist change, and they are 

closed and conservative people.

Individuals experience such feelings as grief, worry, 

burnout, and failure in certain periods of their lives. 

In order for them to be able to cope with negative 

emotions, it is essential that they feel relaxed and 

most importantly get rid of such negative feelings 

without giving harm to themselves. To help 

individuals get rid of these feelings and make their 

life worthier of living and compassionate, their self-

compassion should be developed. It is sympathy 

that forms the content of self-compassion. This is 

because compassion involves being sensitive to 

others’ suffering, being aware of others’ grief, not 

disregarding or avoiding these sufferings and grief, 

being affectionate towards others, the desire to 

alleviate others’ sufferings that are apparent and 

understanding people who fail or do wrong without 

judging them (Deniz, Kesici, & Sümer, 2008). Self-

compassion is defined as one’s behaving sensitively 

and in an understanding way rather than criticizing 

oneself in the case of suffering and failure, seeing 

negative experiences as a part of human life and 

looking for logical solutions instead of emphasizing 

negative emotions and thoughts (Neff, 2003a as 

cited in Deniz & Sümer, 2010). When we encounter 

a situation that causes grief or negative feelings, 

three dimensions of self-compassion, emerge. 

a) Kindness: involves a person’s being understanding 

towards himself/herself rather than being critical. 

People who have kindness, don’t make harsh 

judgment and self-criticism towards himself/

herself (Neff, 2003a).

b) Common humanity: The individual’s viewing his/

her experiences as shared experiences of all people. 

c) Mindfulness: Balancing negative feelings by 

avoiding extreme identification (Dilmaç, Deniz, & 

Deniz, 2010). Mindfulness is a balanced awareness 

of one’s emotions, thoughts without avoiding or 

trying to change them and without exaggeration or 

prejudice (Akın, 2009).

When the literature is reviewed, it is seen that 

there are only a handful of studies on psychological 

well-being. The concept was introduced into the 

literature in Turkish by Cenkseven (2004), who 

investigated the predictors of psychological well-

being. Tanhan (2007) studied the effects of death 

education on psychological well-being. Gürel 

(2009) studied the impact of thinking styles on 

psychological well-being.



Method

This study was carried out as a relational screening 

model. The dependent variable in the study was 

psychological well-being, and the independent 

variables were personal characteristics and self-

compassion level. The population of the study was 

composed of higher education students. The study 

sample was selected through random sampling. 

Totally 636 students took part in the study, 232 

(%36.5) being in Selçuk University, 209 (%32.9) 

of them being at Ahi Evran University, and 195 

(%30.7) of them being at Cumhuriyet University. 

405 of the participants were females (67.5%), while 

231 of them (32.5%) were males.



Instruments

Psychological Well-Being Scale: the scale is 

composed of 84 items. The Psychological Well-

being Scale is composed of 6 factors with 14 



E D U C A T I O N A L   S C I E N C E S :   T H E O R Y   &   P R A C T I C E

2100


items used to measure the dimensions of positive 

relations with others, autonomy, environmental 

control, personal growth, purpose in life and self-

acceptance. The participants were asked to respond 

to seven-point likert scale items with the labels “I 

strongly disagree” and “I strongly agree”. After the 

reversely scored items were coded, the scores of 

14 items for each subscale were summed. Higher 

scores for a particular subscale mean that the value 

of that subscale is high. The scale was adapted into 

Turkish by Cenkseven (2004). The total internal 

reliability coefficient of the psychological well-being 

scale was found to be .93. It was found that the test-

retest reliability coefficient for the total scores was 

.84. The Cronbach alpha reliability coefficient of the 

Psychological Well-being Scale was found to be .88.



Adjective Based Personality Scale: This tool is 

a scale developed by Bacanlı, İlhan, and Arslan 

(2009). The scale is composed of 40 adjective pairs 

that are compatible with the concept of personality 

suggested by the Five-Factor Personality Theory. 

It is designed in the form of seven-point Likert 

items and is composed of 5 dimensions; that is, 

neuroticism, extroversion, openness to experience, 

agreeableness, and responsibility. Higher scores in 

a subscale mean that the personal characteristic 

in that subscale is dominant. It is seen that the 

internal reliability coefficients of the dimensions 

of Adjective Based Personality Scale (ABPT) range 

between .73 and .89. Based on the results of results 

of the factor analysis carried out to test the validity 

of the ABPT, 40 out of 50 pairs of adjectives were 

identified, and the results revealed that the five 

dimensions explained 52.6% of the variance in the 

ABPT (Bacanlı et al., 2009).

Self-Compassion Scale The Self-compassion Scale, 

developed by Neff (2003b), was validated and 

adapted into Turkish by Deniz et al. (2008). In the 

original scale, which was prepared to measure the 

properties of self-compassion, the respondents are 

asked to rate how often they acted about a given 

situation by using five-point Likert scale with 

labels ranging from “Almost never=1” to “Almost 

always=5. Higher scores in the scale indicate 

higher levels of self-compassion. The Cronbach 

Alpha reliability coefficient calculated in line with-

analysis of the scale was found to be .89. In addition, 

internal reliability coefficient on the scale was 

found to be .89, and test retest reliability coefficient 

was calculated to be .83 (Deniz et al., 2008).

Data Analysis

The data collected through the scales were 

analyzed using SPSS 17.0. To analyze the data, 

Pearson conduct moments coefficient and stepwise 

regression analysis were used. 

Results

It was found that each subscale of psychological 

well-being was positively correlated with self-

compassion. Self-compassion and self-acceptance 

are the most conspicuous subscales of psychological 

well-being. It is seen that all subscales of 

psychological well-being are significantly correlated 

with all subscales of personality. It was found that 

positive relations with others strongly correlated 

with property of extroversion in the subscale of 

environmental mastery and self-acceptance, the 

property of openness to experience in the subscale 

of autonomy and personal growth and the property 

of responsibility in the subscale of purpose in life. 

Regression analysis carried out to determine the 

predictors of positive relations with others revealed 

that personal characteristics and self-compassion 

explained 34% of the variance. Extroversion, self-

compassion and neuroticism were found be the 

predictors of the dimension of positive relations 

with others.

In the results for the subscale of autonomy revealed 

that self-compassion and openness to experience 

were significant positive predictors, while 

agreeableness was a negative predictor, and these 

explained the 17% of the variance.

It was also found that in terms of the subscale 

of environmental mastery, self-compassion, 

responsibility, extroversion and neuroticism 

as subscales were predictive variables and they 

explained 49% of the variance in the subscale.

The analysis carried to test whether psychological 

well-being predicts the subscale of personal 

development revealed that openness to experience, 

self-compassion and neuroticism were predictive 

variables. Openness to experience and self-

compassion predict psychological well-being in 

a positive way, while neuroticism predicts it in a 

negative way. These variables explain 32% of the 

total variance.

The regression analysis carried out to find out 

the predictive power of purpose in life indicated 

that self-compassion and personality traits 

predicted 33% of the variance in the subscale. Self-

compassion, responsibility and neuroticism were 




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