The Development and Validation of a Scale to Measure Self-Compassion

Self and Identity

Volume 2, 2003 – Issue 3

This article defines the construct of self-compassion and describes the development of the Self-Compassion Scale. Self-compassion entails being kind and understanding toward oneself in instances of pain or failure rather than being harshly self-critical; perceiving one’s experiences as part of the larger human experience rather than seeing them as isolating; and holding painful thoughts and feelings in mindful awareness rather than over-identifying with them. Evidence for the validity and reliability of the scale is presented in a series of studies. Results indicate that self-compassion is significantly correlated with positive mental health outcomes such as less depression and anxiety and greater life satisfaction. Evidence is also provided for the discriminant validity of the scale, including with regard to self-esteem measures.
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Meta-Analysis of Gender Differences in Self-Compassion

Self and Identity

Volume 14, 2015 – Issue 5

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While research suggests strong associations of self-compassion with mental health and well-being, gender norms may hinder the development of self-compassion by women on one hand, and men on the other. This study represents one of the first systematic analyses of potential gender differences in self-compassion using meta-analytic techniques, including whether such gender differences are moderated by age or ethnic minority status. Fixed-effects models were used to estimate the average effect size (ES) of gender differences in self-compassion scores across 71 journal articles and dissertations providing a total of 88 estimates. Results revealed that males had slightly higher levels of self-compassion than females, with a small ES observed (d = .18). This difference was larger in samples with a higher percentage of ethnic minorities. Researchers and practitioners should take these group differences into account in future studies and interventions focused on self-compassion, while not overemphasizing gender differences in self-compassion as being large in size.

The Role of Self-compassion in Romantic Relationships

Self and Identity

Volume 12, 2013 – Issue 1

Self-compassion (SC) involves being kind to oneself when confronting personal inadequacies or situational difficulties, framing the imperfection of life in terms of common humanity, and being mindful of negative emotions so that one neither suppresses nor ruminates on them. The current study explored whether being self-compassionate is linked to healthier romantic relationship behavior, such as being more caring and supportive rather than controlling or verbally aggressive with partners. A total of 104 couples participated in the study, with self-reported SC levels being associated with partner reports of relationship behavior. Results indicated that self-compassionate individuals displayed more positive relationship behavior than those who lacked SC. SC was also a stronger predictor of positive relationship behavior than trait self-esteem (SE) or attachment style. Finally, partners were able to accurately report on each other’s SC levels, suggesting that SC is an observable trait.

The Relationship between Self-compassion and Other-focused Concern among College Undergraduates, Community Adults, and Practicing Meditators

Self and Identity

Volume 12, 2013 – Issue 2

The present study examined the link between self-compassion and concern for the well-being of others. Other-focused concern variables included compassion for humanity, empathetic concern, perspective taking, personal distress, altruism and forgiveness. Participants included 384 college undergraduates, 400 community adults, and 172 practicing meditators. Among all participant groups, higher levels of self-compassion were significantly linked to more perspective taking, less personal distress, and greater forgiveness. Self-compassion was linked to compassion for humanity, empathetic concern, and altruism among community adults and meditators but not college undergraduates. The strength of the association between self-compassion and other-focused concern also varied according to participant group and gender. The strongest links tended to be found among meditators, while women tended to show weaker associations than men.

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.