Two studies examined the relationship between self-compassion, academic achievement goals, and coping with perceived academic failure among undergraduates. Self-compassion entails being kind to oneself in instances of failure, perceiving one’s experiences as part of the larger human experience, and holding painful feelings in mindful awareness. Study 1 (N = 222) found that self-compassion was positively associated with mastery goals and negatively associated with performance goals, a relationship that was mediated by the lesser fear of failure and greater perceived competence of self-compassionate individuals. Study 2 confirmed these findings among students who perceived their recent midterm grade as a failure (N = 110), with results also indicating that self-compassion was positively associated with emotion-focused coping strategies and negatively associated with avoidance-oriented strategies.
Neff, K. D., Hsieh, Y. P., & Dejitterat, K. (2005). Self-compassion, achievement goals, and coping with academic failure. Self and identity, 4(3), 263-287.