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Social Support and Academic Burnout Among University Students: A Moderated Mediation Model

Authors Ye Y, Huang X, Liu Y

Received 6 January 2021

Accepted for publication 20 February 2021

Published 18 March 2021 Volume 2021:14 Pages 335—344

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/PRBM.S300797

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Professor Mei-chun Cheung


Yuqiao Ye,1,2,* Xiuyu Huang,2,3,* Yang Liu4,*

1Shaanxi Key Laboratory of Behavior and Cognitive Neuroscience, School of Psychology, Shaanxi Normal University, Xi’an, People’s Republic of China; 2School of Psychology, South China Normal University, Guangzhou, People’s Republic of China; 3Center for Smart Health, School of Nursing, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Kowloon City, Hong Kong; 4Department of Physical Education, Shaanxi Normal University, Xi’an, People’s Republic of China

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Correspondence: Yang Liu
Department of Physical Education, Shaanxi Normal University, Xi’an, People’s Republic of China
Email [email protected]
Yuqiao Ye
Shaanxi Key Laboratory of Behavior and Cognitive Neuroscience, School of Psychology, Shaanxi Normal University, Xi’an, People’s Republic of China
Email [email protected]

Purpose: An increasing number of studies have been carried out to investigate the relationship between social support and study motivation among university students, but underlying mechanisms behind this pathway have not been fully verified. In the present study, we aimed to test the effect of social support on academic burnout (decrease in study motivation); examine the mediating effect of life satisfaction on the association between social support and academic burnout; and explore whether this mediating effect varied across (moderated mediation) students of different socioeconomic status (SES).
Materials and Methods: Data for 503 students were collected in a Chinese university through a composited survey regarding social support, life satisfaction, SES, and academic burnout. Data analysis and the investigation of combined effects in the model were carried out via conditional process modeling.
Results: Results indicated that social support was negatively associated with academic burnout. In addition, life satisfaction had a partial mediation effect on the relationship between social support and academic burnout, and SES moderated this mediation effect. Specifically, the mediation effect was found to be more significant among students in the high SES group than those in the lower one.
Conclusion: This study is novel in that it establishes empirically how academic burnout is associated with a typical society analytical variable (ie, social support) among students in tertiary education. It also investigates an alternative scenario to explain the underlying mechanism of social support on academic burnout against the most popular explaining model. Implications of the study for effective elimination of the decrease in study motivation across students with different SES are discussed.

Keywords: social support, life satisfaction, socioeconomic status, academic burnout, mediation effect, moderated mediation effect

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