Group project assignments have become popular in college-level instruction, making group chemistry and harmony crucial for students’ learning. Because the nature of group projects highlights collaborative work, it is common for students to experience conflict among team members for various reasons, thereby hindering their learning and motivation to participate in the project. Such negative motivational consequences of what we termed intragroup conflict may be mitigated by group members’ responses to the conflict. One such response may be a sense of compassion, either directed toward others or toward the self. This study explored the role of compassion (self-compassion and compassion to others) in college students’ motivational and emotional experiences when intragroup conflict among team members was perceived. From an initial model of students’ various motivational goals for the group project, measures of intragroup conflict (in a second step) and of self-compassion and compassion to others (in a third step) were added to predict students’ project commitment and emotions. Three hierarchical multiple regressions showed that goals explained a significant amount of variance in project commitment and positive and negative emotions. A measure of conflict improved predictions significantly as did adding measures of self-compassion and compassion to others. The final model for project commitment showed that significant contributors were intragroup conflict (in a negative direction) and compassion to others (positive direction). Positive emotions were predicted only by self-compassion, whereas negative emotions were predicted by intragroup conflict (positively), self-compassion (negatively), and compassion to others (negatively).
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