Self-compassion, self-regulation, and health

Self and Identity

Volume 10, 2011 – Issue 3: Self- and identity-regulation and health

 

Self-compassion—treating oneself with kindness, care, and concern in the face of negative life events—may promote the successful self-regulation of health-related behaviors. Self-compassion can promote self-regulation by lowering defensiveness, reducing the emotional states and self-blame that interfere with self-regulation, and increasing compliance with medical recommendations. Furthermore, because they cope better with stressful events, people high in self-compassion may be less depleted by illness and injury and, thus, have greater self-regulatory resources to devote to self-care. Framing medical problems and their treatment in ways that foster self-compassion may enhance people’s ability to manage their health-related behavior and deal with medical problems.
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Self-compassion, Interpersonal Conflict Resolutions, and Well-being

Self and Identity

Volume 12, 2013 – Issue 2

 

This study examined the link between self-compassion and the balance of the needs of self and other in conflict situations. College undergraduates (N = 506) were asked to provide an example of a time in which their needs conflicted with those of their mother, father, best friend and romantic partner. Participants were asked how they resolved the conflict (subordinating, self-prioritizing, or compromising). They also reported whether their resolution choice felt authentic, the degree of emotional turmoil experienced when resolving the conflict, and their sense of well-being in each relational context. Across contexts, higher levels of self-compassion were related to greater likelihood to compromise and lesser likelihood to self-subordinate needs, as well as greater authenticity, lower levels of emotional turmoil, and higher levels of relational well-being. With fathers and romantic partners, the link between self-compassion and well-being was mediated by greater likelihood to make compromise decisions.

Self-compassion and Psychological Resilience Among Adolescents and Young Adults

Self and Identity

Volume 9, 2010 – Issue 3

 

Self-compassion is an adaptive way of relating to the self when considering personal inadequacies or difficult life circumstances. However, prior research has only examined self-compassion among adults. The current study examined self-compassion among adolescents (N = 235; Mage = 15.2) and included a sample of young adults as a comparison group (N = 287; Mage = 21.1). Results indicated that self-compassion was strongly associated with well-being among adolescents as well as adults. In addition, family and cognitive factors were identified as predictors of individual differences in self-compassion. Finally, self-compassion was found to partially mediate the link between family/cognitive factors and well-being. Findings suggest that self-compassion may be an effective intervention target for teens suffering from negative self-views.

The benefits of self-compassion and optimism exercises for individuals vulnerable to depression

The Journal of Positive Psychology

Dedicated to furthering research and promoting good practice

Volume 5, 2010 – Issue 5

The effectiveness of two online exercises intended to help individuals experience (1) self-compassion (n = 63) and (2) optimism (n = 55) were compared to a control intervention where participants wrote about an early memory (n = 70). A battery of tests was completed at 1 week following the exercise period, and at 1-, 3-, and 6-month follow-ups. Both active interventions resulted in significant increases in happiness observable at 6 months and significant decreases in depression sustained up to 3 months. The interventions were examined in relationship to dependency and self-criticism, both related to vulnerability to depression. Individuals high in self-criticism became happier at 1 week and at 1 month in the optimism condition in the repeated measures analysis. A sensitivity test using multi-level modeling failed to replicate this effect. More mature levels of dependence (connectedness) were related to improvements in mood up to 6 months in the self-compassion condition. This study suggests that different personality orientations may show greater gains from particular types of positive psychology interventions.

Character strengths predict subjective well-being during adolescence

The Journal of Positive Psychology

Dedicated to furthering research and promoting good practice

Volume 6, 2011 – Issue 1: Special Issue on Positive Youth Psychology

 

Previous research indicates that several character strengths (e.g., gratitude, optimism, persistence, and self-regulation) correlate positively with measures of subjective well-being in adolescents. We examined whether character strengths predict future well-being. Adolescent high school students (N = 149) completed the Values in Action Inventory of Strengths for Youth and measures of subjective well-being (depression, happiness, life satisfaction) at several assessments from the fall of 9th grade through the spring of their 10th grade year. In analyses controlling for the effects of other strengths, other-directed strengths (e.g., kindness, teamwork) predicted fewer symptoms of depression. Transcendence strengths (e.g., meaning, love) predicted greater life satisfaction. Social support partially mediated the relationship between strengths and depression, but did not mediate the relationship between strengths and life satisfaction. These findings indicate that strengths that build connections to people and purposes larger than the self predict future well-being.

Greater strengths of character and recovery from illness

The Journal of Positive Psychology

Dedicated to furthering research and promoting good practice

Volume 1, 2006 – Issue 1

How are character strengths related to recovery? A retrospective web-based study of 2087 adults found small but reliable associations between a history of physical illness and the character strengths of appreciation of beauty, bravery, curiosity, fairness, forgiveness, gratitude, humor, kindness, love of learning, and spirituality. A history of psychological disorder and the character strengths of appreciation of beauty, creativity, curiosity, gratitude, and love of learning were also associated. A history of problems was linked to decreased life satisfaction, but only among those who had not recovered. In the case of physical illness, less of a toll on life satisfaction was found among those with the character strengths of bravery, kindness, and humor, and in the case of psychological disorder, less of a toll on life satisfaction was found among those with the character strengths of appreciation of beauty and love of learning. We suggest that recovery from illness and disorder may benefit character.