Trauma Exposure and Malevolent Creativity in Higher Education: A Mediated-Moderation Analysis of Psychological Distress and Social Factors
- Qiaoqiao Jing , Ph. D candidate, Institute for Advanced Studies, University of Malaya, Kuala Kumpur, Malaysia, 54100.
- Rusdi Bin Abd Rashid , Associate professor, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya, Kuala Kumpur, Malaysia, 54100.
- Chew Fong Peng , Associate professor, Faculty of Education, University of Malaya, Kuala Kumpur, Malaysia, 54100.
- Chan Wai Yin , Consultant，Faculty of Behavioural Science, Help University, Kuala Kumpur, Malaysia, 54100.
Purpose: This study investigates the complex interplay between trauma exposure, psychological distress, social variables, and malevolent creativity within the sphere of higher education. Its objective is to elucidate the pathways through which distress might influence students to partake in unethical conduct and to examine the potential moderating influence of social factors on these behaviours. Method: Utilizing a mixed-methods methodology, this research conducts surveys among a diverse selection of higher education students, evaluating trauma exposure, psychological distress, and malevolent creativity through established measurement scales. Qualitative perspectives are derived from interviews conducted with psychologists employed in higher education institutions. Quantitative data undergo statistical analyses, while qualitative discoveries provide depth and contextual understanding of the phenomenon.
Findings: The study reveals a noteworthy positive correlation between trauma exposure and malevolent creativity, providing insight into the possible impact of distressing experiences on unethical conduct. Psychological distress emerges as a central mediator in this connection. Social elements, encompassing peer support networks and institutional culture, assume a crucial role in alleviating distress and its ethical implications. Furthermore, the research underscores the potential association between distress and maladaptive coping strategies, including deceit and manipulation. Implications: This research holds implications for higher education institutions, highlighting the necessity for trauma-informed support services and policy adaptations. It underscores the significance of well-established psychological support services and the normalization of mental health concerns. Furthermore, the study emphasizes the value of intervention initiatives and support structures aimed at addressing distress and cultivating an ethical academic environment.