The relationship among the components of self-compassion: a pilot study using a compassionate writing intervention to enhance self-kindness, common humanity, and mindfulness

  • Self-compassion has been theorized to have three components, each with a positive pole and a negative pole: self-kindness versus self-judgment, common humanity versus isolation, and mindfulness versus over-identification. Neff (Self Identity 2:85–101, 2003a) proposes that they mutually influence each other, however, this proposition has not been tested yet. We conducted a pilot study to see if improvements from training one component spilled over to the other two—and whether these trainings had an impact on well-being. 80 participants completed 8 weeks of self-compassionate writing exercises to enhance either self-kindness, common humanity, or mindfulness. Trait self-compassion was assessed using the six-factor model of the self-compassion scale. To address issues of alpha-error-inflation, the false discovery rate was fixed at 5%, and critical p values were adjusted accordingly. Participants in the mindfulness condition reported increased total self-compassion (p = .009), which was accompanied by increased self-kindness (p = .027) and lower isolation (p = .045). Participants in the common humanity condition reported improved total self-compassion (p = .018), lower over-identification (p = .045), and higher life-satisfaction (p = .049). The training in self-kindness failed to improve self-kindness or any other factor. These findings provide initial evidence that the components of self-compassion mutually enhance each other. They also emphasize the importance of mindfulness within the conceptualization of self-compassion.

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Author:Aljoscha DreisörnerORCiDGND, Nina Mareen JunkerGND, Rolf van DickORCiDGND
Parent Title (English):Journal of happiness studies
Publisher:Springer Science + Business Media B.V
Place of publication:Dordrecht [u.a.]
Document Type:Article
Date of Publication (online):2020/01/19
Date of first Publication:2020/01/19
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2022/10/20
Tag:Common humanity; Compassionate writing exercises; Mindfulness; Self-compassion; Self-kindness; Well-being
Page Number:26
First Page:21
Last Page:47
Open Access funding provided by Projekt DEAL. We thank Joost van Ginkel and Johannes B. Heekerens for their helpful comments during data analysis.
Institutes:Psychologie und Sportwissenschaften / Psychologie
Dewey Decimal Classification:1 Philosophie und Psychologie / 15 Psychologie / 150 Psychologie
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung 4.0