The Role of Shame in Student Persistence and Help-Seeking
This thesis examined students’ lived experiences of shame in university and how this emotion interacts with factors related to student persistence (such as, motivation, self-efficacy, sense of belonging) and help-seeking. Previous studies have demonstrated that shame can negatively impact factors related to student persistence, but researchers have yet to investigate how experiencing shame impacts students during their academic studies. All sources of data were collected through semi-structured interviews (n=7) with shame-prone, undergraduate, domestic students. Following the interview participants had the opportunity to participate in an optional 10-day journaling activity (n=3). All data were analyzed following an Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis, resulting in the creation of six super ordinate themes: Processing Shame, Impact on Self, Motivation, Belonging, Factors That Promote Help-Seeking, and Factors That Deter Help-seeking, and 32 subordinate themes. This study demonstrates students’ experiences of shame impacting their motivation, sense of belonging, self-efficacy, and identity. Participants also shared difficulties seeking help in moments after experiencing shame. These findings provide evidence that shame impedes students’ persistence, and acts as a barrier to seeking help when struggling. This thesis reiterates the need for universities to design policies and programming that understands how during times of struggles students are less likely to reach out for support, and such initiatives should be structured to address this issue.
Shame, student success, student persistence, help-seeking, motivation, self-efficacy, sense of belonging
Master of Education (M.Ed.)