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Many colleges and universities encourage students to engage with social justice issues in their education and career discernment. However, a variety of individual attributes and life experiences may predict how college students develop an awareness of and attitudes toward social justice, perhaps including ways in which students relate to their own challenging life experiences and encounter others’ experiences of injustice. This study explored the relationship between individual attributes, educational experiences and social justice attitudes among a sample of 347 college students who completed self-report surveys. Specifically, this study examined a) help-seeking attitudes, b) self-compassion, c) prior experience receiving mental health support, and d) prior experience participating in service activities as predictors of social justice attitudes. As hypothesized, higher willingness to seek help in times of personal distress and higher levels of self-compassion were positively correlated with awareness and concern for social justice issues, with help-seeking attitudes being the stronger predictor. Significant differences were also observed across gender, help-seeking history, and service experience. Furthermore, the association between help-seeking attitudes and social justice attitudes was moderated by gender and by prior service experience and mental health support. Implications of these findings for social justice education and college student well-being are discussed.



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