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.

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.

Strengths of character, orientations to happiness, and life satisfaction

The Journal of Positive Psychology

Dedicated to furthering research and promoting good practice

Volume 2, 2007 – Issue 3

Why are certain character strengths more associated with life satisfaction than others? A sample of US adults (N = 12,439) completed online surveys in English measuring character strengths, orientations to happiness (engagement, pleasure, and meaning), and life satisfaction, and a sample of Swiss adults (N = 445) completed paper-and-pencil versions of the same surveys in German. In both samples, the character strengths most highly linked to life satisfaction included love, hope, curiosity, and zest. Gratitude was among the most robust predictors of life satisfaction in the US sample, whereas perseverance was among the most robust predictors in the Swiss sample. In both samples, the strengths of character most associated with life satisfaction were associated with orientations to pleasure, to engagement, and to meaning, implying that the most fulfilling character strengths are those that make possible a full life.