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.