Making “Joy Pie” to Stay Joyful: Self-Care Interventions Alleviate College Students’ Mental Health Challenges

Bu Zhong*, Lola Xie*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


As more college students are facing mental health challenges, it is imperative to explore innovative ways of improving their mental health, including developing self-care interventions that help mitigate their stressors. Based on the Response Styles Theory and self-care conceptions, this study creates the “Joy Pie” project that consists of five self-care strategies, aiming to regulate negative emotions and increase self-care efficacy. Using an experimental design and two-wave data collected from a representative sample of Beijing college students (n1 = 316, n2 = 127), this study assesses the effects of the five proposed interventions on the students’ self-care efficacy and mental health management. The results show that self-care efficacy helped improve mental health through emotion regulation, which is mediated by age, gender, and family income. The promising results support the effectiveness of the “Joy Pie” interventions in strengthening self-care efficacy and improving mental health. This study offers insights into building back better mental health security among college students at this critical time when the world is recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3823
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2023

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

User-Defined Keywords

  • college student
  • COVID-19
  • emotion as information
  • mental health
  • self-care
  • social comparison


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