Assessing changes in mood state in university students following short-term study abroad

Published in PLoS ONE, 2021

By T. Yamanaka, N. Yamagishi, N. E. Nawa and S. J. Anderson

Summary: Short-term study-abroad (STSA) programs provide a more accessible alternative for students who would otherwise not consider engaging in academic activities overseas. Though improvements in the levels of intercultural sensitivity and general academic aspects attained by STSA programs have been previously examined, much less is known regarding the impact such programs have in the mood of students. Here, we examined changes in mood state associated with participation in an STSA program in a group of Japanese university students. Mood states were assessed using the Profile of Mood States (POMS), the Satisfaction With Life Scale (SWLS), and the Gratitude Questionnaire (GQ-6). Results indicated that the POMS mean scores of Vigor-Activity and SWLS peaked at the time immediately following participation in the STSA program; moreover, the same scores were found to be at comparable levels even one month after the end of the program. These results indicate that participation in STSA programs can positively influence the mood state of university students, suggesting that the benefits associated with participation in such programs extend beyond typically reported improvements in the academic domain.

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