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Men's Self-Compassion and Self-Esteem: The Moderating Roles of Shame and Masculine Norm Adherence

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Self-compassion, a relatively new but increasingly popular alternative to self-esteem, has been found to vary by gender, with men reporting greater levels than women. The current study furthers this emerging area of inquiry by addressing the relationships among conformity to masculine norms, trait shame, self-esteem, and self-compassion for 145 heterosexual men. Results demonstrated that higher levels of self-compassion were related to lower masculine norm adherence, lower trait shame, and higher self-esteem. In addition, 2 significant interactions emerged, with shame moderating the relation between masculine norm adherence and both self-esteem and self-compassion. These findings highlight the complex interdependence between emotional disposition and gender orientation in men’s self-concepts. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved)
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Men’s Self-Compassion and Self-Esteem: The Moderating Roles of Shame
and Masculine Norm Adherence
Erin D. Reilly, Aaron B. Rochlen, and Germine H. Awad
University of Texas at Austin
Self-compassion, a relatively new but increasingly popular alternative to self-esteem, has been found to
vary by gender, with men reporting greater levels than women. The current study furthers this emerging
area of inquiry by addressing the relationships among conformity to masculine norms, trait shame,
self-esteem, and self-compassion for 145 heterosexual men. Results demonstrated that higher levels
of self-compassion were related to lower masculine norm adherence, lower trait shame, and higher
self-esteem. In addition, 2 significant interactions emerged, with shame moderating the relation between
masculine norm adherence and both self-esteem and self-compassion. These findings highlight the
complex interdependence between emotional disposition and gender orientation in men’s self-concepts.
Keywords: self-compassion, self-esteem, shame, masculinity, mental health
Male socialization patterns emphasizing emotional restrictive-
ness and stoicism have been commonly theorized to limit men’s
access to vulnerable feelings and heighten psychological distress
(Levant, 2011). Researchers have argued that boys are embedded
in cultural ideals of masculinity that have limited and stigmatized
their emotional expression and willingness to respond to or ac-
knowledge feelings (Pederson & Vogel, 2007). As a result, there
has been increasing evidence suggesting male gender conformity
is a significant factor in predicting psychological well-being
(Mahalik et al., 2003).
Expressing vulnerability in times of distress may be particularly
antithetical to men’s self-conceptualizations of masculinity, espe-
cially in regards to shame. The experience of shame may become
both a vehicle of gender socialization and an internalized product
of it, as male gender role socialization promotes a “shame phobic”
male experience (Wright, 1987). It has thus been suggested that
men have been socialized to deny and avoid self-conscious emo-
tions, including shame, yet regularly have their behavior policed
by others in a deeply shameful manner (Kindlon & Thompson,
2000).
Over the past few decades, research on self-conscious emotions,
such as shame, guilt, and pride, has expanded considerably
(Stoeber, Kempe, & Keogh, 2008;Tracy, Robins, & Tangney,
2007). Internalized shame, or trait shame, is often experienced as
a debilitating inner-experience that involves a global sense of the
self as defective, lacking, and unworthy of kindness (Lewis, 1992;
Tilghman-Osborne, Cole, & Felton, 2010). Not surprisingly, trait
shame is associated with mental health issues across the life span
such as suicide, depression, and anxiety (Lester, 1998;Orth,
Robins, & Soto, 2010).
Research further suggests that gender role stress and shame are
linked, and contribute to men’s externalizing behaviors (Efthim,
Kenny, & Mahalik, 2001). For example, Jakupcak, Tull, and
Roemer (2005) found that masculinity, shame-proneness, and
men’s fear of emotions predict overt hostility and anger in men.
Recognizing the connection between men’s shame and external-
izing behaviors, Sabatino (1999) highlighted therapeutic tech-
niques particularly valuable for men with intense shame. Despite
these notable theories, there has been limited empirical research
investigating this relationship. Given the often cited finding that
men most in need of help often avoid seeking out services (Addis
& Mahalik, 2003;Vogel, Heimerdinger-Edwards, Hammer, &
Hubbard, 2011), more research is needed on the informal coping
methods men may utilize to manage emotional distress.
Self-Compassion and Self-Esteem
One potential avenue for contributing to such research is inte-
grating approaches and methods from the burgeoning field of
positive psychology. This perspective argues that understanding
the individual attitudes that help people thrive when distressed can
contribute to an increased understanding of optimal well-being
(Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi, 2000). Currently, studies on men’s
adaptive responses to negative life experiences have been increas-
ing but are still underexplored in the literature (Hammer & Good,
2010;Kiselica & Englar-Carlson, 2010). Research investigating
men’s positive responses to distress may help inform interventions
for men experiencing distress but unlikely to seek formal help.
Frequently placed within the context of a positive framework,
research on self-compassion has received significant attention as a
potentially helpful coping strategy. Self-compassion involves hav-
ing a forgiving attitude toward oneself in the face of hardship,
acknowledging that suffering and inadequacies are part of the
human condition, and believing that the self and others are worthy
of understanding and compassion (Neff, 2003a). Research sug-
gests that individuals with higher self-compassion are less likely to
This article was published Online First February 18, 2013.
Erin D. Reilly, Aaron B. Rochlen, and Germine H. Awad, University of
Texas at Austin.
Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Erin D.
Reilly, Department of Educational Psychology, Counseling Psychology
Program, University of Texas at Austin, 1 University Station D5800,
Austin, TX 78712. E-mail: erin.reilly@austin.utexas.edu
This document is copyrighted by the American Psychological Association or one of its allied publishers.
This article is intended solely for the personal use of the individual user and is not to be disseminated broadly.
Psychology of Men & Masculinity © 2013 American Psychological Association
2014, Vol. 15, No. 1, 22–28 1524-9220/14/$12.00 DOI: 10.1037/a0031028
22
experience negative psychological outcomes (Leary, Tate, Adams,
Batts Allen, & Hancock, 2007;Neff, 2003a). In addition, Neff,
Kirkpatrick, and Rude (2007) found that self-compassion was a
significant predictor of happiness, hopefulness, and positive affect.
Though there is natural variation in self-compassion, the ability
seems particularly amendable to interventions. Various protocols
and exercises based on self-compassion techniques have led to
increases in this positive ability in individuals (Gilbert & Procter,
2006;Mosewich, Kowalski, Sabiston, Sedgwick, & Tracy, 2011).
Self-compassion has been theorized as an alternative to the
widely studied construct of self-esteem (Neff, 2011). Self-
compassion involves three main components: self-kindness (ex-
tending understanding to oneself, rather than harsh criticism),
common humanity (recognizing that one’s difficulties are part of
the common human experience), and mindfulness (holding
thoughts and feelings in balanced awareness, rather than overiden-
tifying with them; Neff, 2003b). Research has suggested a simi-
larity between the two constructs, with notable differences as well.
In particular, self-esteem involves self-evaluations based on exter-
nal indicators of success and social appropriateness and can be
related to unhealthy outcomes such as narcissism, a disregard of
weaknesses, and a lack of empathy (Seligman, 1995). In addition,
self-esteem requires one to make self-evaluations based on com-
parisons with others and an ability to possess certain culturally
valued traits (Harter, 1999). Self-compassion, however, is less
dependent on external circumstances and focuses more on valuing
the self while still acknowledging subjective imperfections (Neff,
2011). As an internally validating self-concept, self-compassion
has been theorized to allow for healthier coping that benefits
oneself and others during times of sadness and disappointment
(Baker & McNulty, 2011;Neff & Vonk, 2009).
Though research has revealed potential positive mental health
outcomes associated with self-compassion, data suggest that these
benefits might not be experienced equally for men and women.
Multiple studies on self-compassion have found that men tend to
have consistently higher levels of self-compassion than women
(Neff, 2003a;Neff, Hsieh, & Dejitterat, 2005). Thus, self-
compassion represents a constructive coping technique that many
men may already be informally using. However, researchers have
drawn attention to the fact that gender-difference findings may
mask more telling, within-group differences that better contextu-
alize psychological outcomes (Kilmartin, 2010;Wong & Rochlen,
2005). Currently, no research has specifically addressed whether
self-compassion or self-esteem might fluctuate among individual
men as a function of emotional socialization patterns and mascu-
line adherence.
Masculinity, Shame, and a Healthy Self-Concept
Traditional masculine norms appear incompatible with a self-
compassionate attitude. A strict adherence to masculine norms
might make some men less likely to use self-compassion, as this
coping strategy inherently entails acknowledging vulnerable emo-
tions during times of hardship. Hegemonic masculine norms en-
courage men faced with failure or difficulties to engage in criti-
cism and self-comparisons, use self-reliance, and discount their
emotions (Mahalik et al., 2003). In contrast, self-compassionate
individuals treat themselves kindly, acknowledge humans’ inter-
connectedness, and maintain a balanced perspective on their emo-
tional states to cope with hardship (Neff, 2003a). Consequently,
the ability to sustain a self-compassionate attitude while adhering
to masculine norms might be difficult, as the two constructs appear
essentially incongruous.
Given the literature emphasizing shame as an important emo-
tional process for men, it is possible that internalized shame might
be associated with masculine norm adherence and a healthy self-
concept (Addis & Cohane, 2005). Kindlon and Thompson (2000)
suggested that shame, anger, and sadness can become the most
commonly felt—yet least regulated— emotions in boys’ lives.
Both trait shame and traditional masculinity appear antithetical to
self-compassion yet are deeply involved in male socialization
(Krugman, 1995). Young men may learn to fear tender or vulner-
able emotional states due to a masculine gender socialization
that uses this emotion to encourage masculine norm adoption
(Jakupcak et al., 2005). Men may come to associate their mascu-
line identity with an aversion to the experience of shame, which
may lower their ability to negotiate vulnerable emotions promoting
understanding, sympathy, and self-kindness (Korobov, 2010;
Sabatino, 1999).
Unlike self-compassion, however, self-esteem is a self-concept
more intimately linked to aligning one’s behaviors with cultural
values (Fulmer et al., 2010). Some research suggests that cisgender
norm conformity might actually increase self-esteem, especially
for those struggling with life difficulties, by involving individuals
in a socially desired activity (Guerrero Witt & Wood, 2010).
Engaging in traditional masculine behavior may thus be related to
greater self-esteem for men struggling with issues like trait shame.
Consequently, the effect of trait shame, in conjunction with high
masculine norm adherence, might lessen men’s predisposition for
self-compassion but may not have the same association with men’s
self-esteem.
Research Questions
To contribute to this area of research, the present study investigated
the relationship that masculinity and trait shame have on self-
compassion and self-esteem in heterosexual men. Consistent with
prior theory, we hypothesized that self-compassion would be nega-
tively correlated with both adherence to masculine norms and trait
shame but would replicate a positive but modest correlation with
self-esteem. We also hypothesized an interaction, such that the rela-
tionship between masculine norms and self-compassion would be
moderated by the internalized experience of shame. Specifically, the
negative association between masculine norm adherence and self-
compassion would be stronger at low levels of trait shame but weaker
at high levels of trait shame. In addition, we hypothesized that this
interaction pattern between masculine norm adherence and trait
shame would not hold for self-esteem, a related though distinct
self-concept. We hypothesized, instead, that the association between
masculine norm adherence and self-esteem would be stronger and
positive at higher levels of trait shame, as conforming to masculine
norms would boost these men’s self-esteem.
Methods
Participants
Participants included 145 heterosexual men from two separate
data sources. These data sources included students at a large
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23
MEN’S SELF-COMPASSION AND SELF-ESTEEM
Southwest institution (53.8%) and a community sample (46.2%).
Student participants were recruited through their department’s
subject pool and received course credit for contributing to the study.
Community participants were recruited by online and real -life
advertisements throughout different large cities in the United
States. All participants were entered into a raffle for four gift
certificates. The mean age for participants was 26.01 years old
(SD 9.31). Data collected on ethnicity indicated that 61.4% of
the sample identified as Caucasian/White, 15.2% as Asian or
Pacific Islander, 10.3% as African American/Black, and 7.6% as
Hispanic/Latino. In terms of highest level of education obtained,
16.6% had a high school diploma, 29% had some college, 9.7%
had a 2-year college degree(AA), 36.6% had a 4-year college
degree (BA or BS), and 7.6% had a MA/PhD. The mean annual
income for this sample was $25,000 –$49,999.
Measures
For all surveys, items were averaged and computed, with higher
scores denoting higher levels of the measured construct. The
Self-Compassion Scale Short Form (SCS-SF; Raes, Pommier,
Neff & Van Gucht, 2011) assessed individuals’ levels of self-
compassion, which involves the following components: (a) self-
kindness, (b) common humanity, and (c) mindfulness. The SCS-SF
was created by selecting items from the full 26-item Self-
Compassion Survey that best mirrored the scope of the original
content. The SCS–SF has demonstrated adequate scale score reli-
ability (Cronbach’s alpha .86 in all samples) and is strongly
correlated with the original long-form SCS (r.97 all samples).
The SCS-SF is scored on a 5-point Likert Scale from 1 (almost
never)to5(almost always) with higher scores indicating higher
levels of self-compassion. Mean scores were computed for the
total self-compassion score, and range from 1 to 5. Reliability
estimates for this study revealed a Cronbach’s alpha of .77, 95%
CI (.71–.82).
The Conformity to Masculine Norms Inventory 22 Item Short
Form (CMNI-22; Hamilton & Mahalik, 2009) measured partici-
pants’ behaviors, attitudes, and conformity to an assortment of
dominant masculine norms in the United States. The CMNI-22
was created using the two highest-loading items for each of the 11
subscales found in the original CMNI-94 item validation study.
The CMNI-22 yields a total masculinity score and correlates with
the original CMNI-94 item scale at .92. The CMNI-22 is scored on
a 4-point Likert Scale from 1 (strongly disagree)to4(strongly
agree)” Scores on this scale were transformed into mean scores
and range from 1 to 4, with higher scores indicating higher levels
of adherence to masculine norms. Cronbach’s alpha for this mea-
sure was .73, 95% CI (.66 –.78).
The Internalized Shame Scale (ISS; Cook, 1987) investigates
global negative evaluations of the self, and rates the frequency
with which respondents experience particular thoughts or feelings
related to shame. The ISS is a 30-item self-report questionnaire,
with 24 items forming the trait shame scale and 6 items forming
the self-esteem measure. Both scales have previously exhibited
high-scale score reliability, with a Cronbach’s alpha of 0.96 and
0.95 for shame and self-esteem, respectively. Items are scored on
a scale of 1 (never)to5(almost always). Scores were transformed
into mean scores, and range from 1 to 5 for both subscales, with
higher scores indicating greater levels of shame or self-esteem.
Cronbach’s alpha for this the sample was .88, 95% CI (.85–.91) for
the self-esteem scale and .96, 95% CI (.95–.97) for the shame
scale.
Results
Preliminary comparison tests for these variables were run to
investigate possible difference by sample and demographics. The
two samples differed significantly on masculine norm conformity
and trait shame, but not on self-compassion or self-esteem, with
the student sample having significantly higher levels of masculine
norm adherence (p.01) and lower trait shame (p.001) than
the community sample. Age, race, and income were not signifi-
cantly related to any variables; however, level of education was
significantly correlated with conformity to masculine norms (r
.19, p.05), with higher levels of education being related to
lesser conformity to masculine norms. Consequently, level of
education and sample were both controlled for when running the
subsequent hierarchical multiple regression to explain the variance
in self-compassion.
To analyze the hypothesis that self-compassion would be neg-
atively correlated with adherence to masculine norms and trait
shame but positively correlated with self-esteem, Pearson Product
correlations were conducted. As described in Table 1, self-
compassion was positively correlated with self-esteem but nega-
tively correlated with masculine norm conformity and trait shame.
In addition, trait shame was negatively correlated with self-esteem,
indicating that greater trait shame was related to lower levels of
self-esteem.
To investigate the hypothesis that the relationship between
masculine norms and self-compassion would be moderated by the
internalized experience of shame, several hierarchical multiple
regressions were run and are presented in Table 2. Preliminary data
analyses were conducted and assured that key assumptions for
multiple regression analysis were met. Neither education level nor
sample were significant predictors in this model and were thus
removed in subsequent analyses. The interaction between confor-
mity to masculine norms and trait shame emerged as a significant
predictor of self-compassion (␤⫽⫺.22, p.001). At high levels
of trait shame (1 SD above the mean), conformity to masculine
norms was not significantly related to self-compassion (B .07,
␤⫽.04, SE .17, p.68); however, at low levels of trait shame
(1 SD below the mean), conformity to masculine norms was
significantly and negatively related to self-compassion (B ⫽⫺.66,
␤⫽⫺.34, SE .16, p.001; see Figure 1). This indicates that
masculine norm adherence was a strong predictor for self-
Table 1
Correlations Between Self-Compassion, Adherence to Masculine
Norms, Trait Shame, and Self-Esteem
Measure M SD 123
1. Self-compassion 3.05 0.57
2. Conformity to
masculine norms
2.47 0.29 .24
3. Trait Shame 2.55 0.80 .58
ⴱⴱ
.12
4. Self-Esteem 3.56 0.76 .51
ⴱⴱ
.07 .55
ⴱⴱ
p.05.
ⴱⴱ
p.01.
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24 REILLY, ROCHLEN, AND AWAD
compassion for men with low shame, but not for men with high
shame. These data suggest that high levels of trait shame not only
reduce self-compassion in high-conformity men, but also in low-
conformity men, with the overall model explaining 41% of the
variance in self-compassion, adjusted total R
2
.41, F(3, 141)
33.36, p.001.
We also hypothesized that the pattern of interaction found for
self-compassion would not hold for self-esteem. The interaction
between conformity to masculine norms and trait shame emerged
as a significant predictor of self-esteem (␤⫽.19, p.01);
however, the pattern of the interaction differed. At high levels of
trait shame (1 SD above the mean), conformity to masculine norms
was significantly and positively related to self-esteem (B.79,
␤⫽.31, SE .24, p.001); however, at low levels of trait shame
(1 SD below the mean), conformity to masculine norms was not
significantly related to self-compassion, (B⫽⫺.02, ␤⫽⫺.01,
SE .22, p.92; see Figure 2). This suggests that, unlike
self-compassion, masculine norm adherence was a strong positive
predictor for self-esteem for men with high shame, but not for men
with low shame. Overall, the regression model accounted for a
significant amount of variance in self-esteem, adjusted total R
2
.36, F(3, 139) 26.12, p.001.
Discussion
Past research suggests that masculine norm conformity might be
associated with men’s difficulty negotiating vulnerable emotions
and forming a healthy self-concept. More generally, the results of
this study extend previous theory by emphasizing the importance
of shame in men’s lives. Our data further suggest that two increas-
ingly researched self-concepts, self-compassion and self-esteem,
are positively correlated but distinct constructs, replicating previ-
ous research suggesting a moderate correlation between the two
constructs (Deniz, Kesici, & Sümer, 2008;Neff, 2003a). These
data suggest that men who are compassionate and balanced in their
self and emotional-perspective have a higher sense of self-
confidence than men who are unforgiving of their faults. This is
consistent with research reporting that people with high self-
esteem feel deserving of happiness, and thus tend to work harder
to manage their negative emotions (Wood, Heimpel, Manwell, &
Whittington, 2009). General compassion training has also been
shown to modestly improve self-esteem, which suggests that en-
gaging in compassionate behaviors or thoughts might create a
favorable view of the self as possessing socially valued traits
(Mongrain, Chin, & Shapira, 2011).
Previous theory further suggests that internalized shame creates
an emotional disposition characterized by an inability to self-
soothe, emotionally regulate, and be compassionate to oneself in
the face of a perceived threat (Gilbert, 2005;Mikulincer & Shaver,
2004). As predicted, higher levels of trait shame were associated
with lower levels of self-compassion. Recently, therapists have
recognized the lack of overall compassion in high shame individ-
uals, and created “compassionate mind training” to generate the
Table 2
Hierarchical Multiple Regression Analyses Testing Interaction Models
Self-compassion Self-esteem
Step and predictors R
2
BSEB 95% CI R
2
BSEB 95% CI
Step 1 .36 .32
Masculine norm adherence .17
.33 .13 .58–(.07) .14 .35 .18 .01–(.71)
Trait shame .56
ⴱⴱⴱ
.40 .05 .49–(.31) .57
ⴱⴱⴱ
.54 .07 .68–(.41)
Step 2 .05 .04
Masculine norm adherence .15
.30 .13 .55–(.05) .15
.38 .18 .04–.73
Trait shame .58
ⴱⴱⴱ
.42 .05 .51–(.32) .59
ⴱⴱⴱ
.56 .07 .69–(.43)
Trait Shame Masculine Norm
Adherence .22
ⴱⴱⴱ
.46 .13 .20–.72 .19
ⴱⴱ
.51 .19 .15–.88
Note. 95% CI 95% confidence interval.
p.05.
ⴱⴱ
p.01.
ⴱⴱⴱ
p.001.
Figure 1. Interaction of trait shame and masculine role adherence on self-compassion.
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25
MEN’S SELF-COMPASSION AND SELF-ESTEEM
confidence, warmth, and self-soothing that can reduce negative
mood (Gilbert & Proctor, 2006). The current study further illus-
trates that feelings of inadequacy, emotional restrictiveness, and
critical self-judgment are incompatible with self-compassion for
many men.
These findings also emphasize the significance of gender ori-
entation in understanding levels of self-compassion in men. Data
revealed that conformity to masculine norms was negatively cor-
related with self-compassion, which aligns with previous research
suggesting that men adhering to traditional masculine norms tend
to avoid or inhibit vulnerable feelings and intimacy with others
(Levant & Pollack, 1995;O’Neil, 2008). However, consistent with
our second hypothesis, the data further suggest that the relationship
between masculine norm adherence on self-compassion levels in
men varies considerably depending on trait shame. For men with
lower trait shame, lower masculine norm conformity was strongly
related to higher self-compassion. Conversely, men with higher
levels of trait shame had significantly lower self-compassion lev-
els, regardless of their masculine norm adherence. These data
indicate that, when trait-shame is high, it may impair men’s ability
to be self-compassionate, regardless of their masculine norm ad-
herence. However, when trait shame is low, men with lower
masculine norm adherence have significantly greater self-
compassion than men who strongly adhere to masculine norms.
These results suggest that severe trait shame may be so over-
whelming and incompatible with self-compassion that, at ex-
tremely high levels, it “trumps” masculine role adherence in pre-
dicting men’s potential for self-compassion. Research suggests
that men are socialized to avoid and yet deeply internalize shame,
leading men in particular to maladaptively negotiate difficult emo-
tions (Wright, 1987). This is a profoundly negative experience that
can undermine one’s relationships with both self and others (Jak-
upcak et al., 2005). Consequently, it is not particularly surprising
that at higher levels of trait shame men would generally have lower
self-compassion levels, regardless of masculine role adherence.
The current findings further suggest that shame may be a key
component to men’s emotional lives and healthy self-concept, and
underscores the importance of providing men with informal inter-
ventions designed to increase men’s acceptance of vulnerable
emotion states during times of distress. Further research exploring
these relationships, particularly those focused on using samples of
men in treatment, is needed and should provide further clarity.
It is also important to note that this pattern of interaction
between trait shame and masculine norm conformity did not hold
for self-esteem. Our findings suggest that the relationship between
adhering to masculine norms and self-esteem was contingent on
men’s trait shame. Greater masculine norm conformity was asso-
ciated with higher self-esteem for men with higher levels of trait
shame. At low levels of trait shame, masculine norm conformity
was not significantly related to self-esteem. One possibility is that
the trait shame variable may be tapping into men’s perceived
ability to live up to traditional masculine ideals. In fact, men
experiencing psychological distress may gain personal gratifica-
tion and confidence by engaging in privileged and socially valued
masculine behaviors (Good & Sanchez, 2010). This would be
congruent with past research suggesting that individuals who do
not conform to gender norms, and see this as a personal failing as
a man, may experience greater negative affect and lower self-
esteem (Guerrero Witt & Wood, 2010). This finding further em-
phasizes the differential impact of shame and masculine norm
conformity on self-concepts like self-compassion and self-esteem.
Although this study was conducted on a nonclinical sample,
some tentative practical and clinical implications can be cautiously
outlined. Past research has suggests that conformity to masculine
norms is linked to avoidant coping strategies that can lead to
increased distress and depression in men (Wilkinson, Walford, &
Espenes, 2000). However, when dealing with hardship or failure,
individuals with more self-compassion are less likely to use harm-
ful escape/avoidant coping such as substance abuse, disengage-
ment, or denial (Allen & Leary, 2010). Self-compassion practices
may assist men’s healthier emotion regulation by helping men
engage with and process negative feelings. Our findings further
suggest, however, that self-compassion might be a challenging
concept for men with greater masculine norm conformity or high
shame. However, as self-compassion may be congruent with pos-
itive outcomes such as lowered harmful externalization, more
adaptive coping, and more emotional disclosure (Neff et al., 2007),
it would be worth addressing these challenges and perhaps incor-
porating this concept into work with men.
Figure 2. Interaction of trait shame and masculine role adherence on self-esteem.
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26 REILLY, ROCHLEN, AND AWAD
On the other hand, self-esteem building may be an easier con-
cept to address with men who adhere more strongly to masculine
norms. In many ways, self-esteem and masculinity are self-
concepts that must be earned and externally validated. In fact, past
research suggests that for men who highly value masculine norms,
gender conformity may help them align their actual and ideal
selves and lead to positive outcomes (Good & Sanchez, 2010). It
is possible that self-esteem focused strategies might be more
congruent with the worldview of highly conforming masculine
men, and thus might be particularly fitting for them. Further
research investigating therapeutic interventions focusing on self-
esteem and self-compassion is needed.
Limitations
Several limitations and recommendations based on the present
study should be noted. Because of this study’s correlational nature,
results obtained cannot assess causation. Though some scholars
have identified a possible causative link between masculine norm
adherence, trait shame, and self-compassion because of male so-
cialization, no current research has utilized the methodologies
necessary for fully exploring this theory’s merit. Experimental and
longitudinal designs are thus needed for investigating possible
causal and socialization models that explain the effect and inter-
nalization of these constructs in men.
Another limitation is the study’s reliance on self-report mea-
sures administered to participants at a single point in time. This
might have been especially problematic given that some of the
measures used are considered to be stable and reflective of trait-
level constructs. However, current researchers have contended that
masculine role adherence in particular is not a stable trait, but
rather a contextual and changing construct (Addis, Mansfield, &
Syzdek, 2010). In addition, recent work by Owen (2011) suggests
that the global masculinity score on the CMNI-22 demonstrates
poor fit. Using different measurement techniques and investigating
the potentially fluid nature of these variables might alleviate this
problem and contribute to further research in this area. Finally,
preliminary descriptive statistics revealed differences on some
measures of interest, specifically on conformity to masculine
norms and trait shame, between the student and community sam-
ples. Although these sampling issues were controlled for in sub-
sequent analyses, their existence highlights the inherent problems
in generalizing these results to other samples of men.
Despite study limitations, the current research highlights a
potentially helpful and already informally used coping mecha-
nism for men’s negotiation of vulnerable emotions—self-
compassion. However, this beneficial strategy may not be
equally used by all men; specifically, greater levels of mascu-
line norm internalization and trait shame may predict men’s
lowered ability to be self-compassionate. In addition, these
results suggest that self-esteem interventions may align better
with men who strongly adhere to masculine norms, and thus be
more congruent with their values and mental health needs.
Future researchers and clinicians should consider both level of
shame and masculine norm adherence when focusing on men’s
expression of vulnerable emotions and ability to form a healthy
self-concept when confronting life difficulties.
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Accepted October 10, 2012
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This article is intended solely for the personal use of the individual user and is not to be disseminated broadly.
28 REILLY, ROCHLEN, AND AWAD
... However, various studies have suggested that self-compassion and self-esteem are positively correlated (Barry et al., 2015;Reilly et al., 2014;Souza & Hutz, 2016). Theoretically, self-compassion is based on feelings, concerns, and non-judgmental comprehension of oneself and others, whereas self-esteem is based on positive self-evaluation (Neff & Vonk, 2009). ...
... For instance, students with high levels of compassion and self-esteem experience fewer negative emotions when receiving bad feedback (Leary et al., 2007). This means that self-compassion could be positively correlated with self-esteem as both contribute to reducing negative feelings (Donald et al., 2018;Reilly et al., 2014). Empirically, the 'self-compassion-as-antecedent' model suggests that self-compassion is highly associated with self-esteem (Souza & Hutz, 2016). ...
... In other words, self-compassionate individuals have a forgiving attitude toward their faults and failures (Neff et al., 2005), and such forgiveness is found to lead to less negative self-evaluations, such as social comparison and self-rumination, thus enhancing self-esteem (Neff & Vonk, 2009). Similarly, Reilly et al. (2014) revealed that higher levels of self-compassion were positively correlated with higher self-esteem in male students with lower trait shame. This finding suggests that men who are self-compassionate have a higher sense of self-esteem than those who do not forgive their faults. ...
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... Thus, it is highly interesting that low emotional competence skills -a crucial protective factor against the general use of violence -shows a strong negative association with the endorsement of TMI (Levant, Hall, et al., 2009;Reilly et al., 2014). For example, endorsement of TMI has been directly related to impaired emotion processing, emotional inexpressiveness, and lower interpersonal competencies (Lease et al., 2010;Levant et al., 2014;Levant & Richmond, 2016). ...
... When looking at functional coping strategies that are less context dependent, such as selfcompassion, our results do confirm previous evidence of a negative relation between TMI and functional coping, namely strong TMI being associated with reduced self-compassion (Reilly et al., 2014). Thus, TMI may not only promote dysfunctional emotion regulation, but also undermine functional ways of coping. ...
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... He still follows those toxic masculinity traits. According to Wright (1987) as cited in Reilly, Rochlen, and Awad (2014), when men expressing their vulnerability in times of distress, it might be considered to be antithetical and a shame if it is seen from self-conceptualizations of masculinity. Furthermore, a shame phobia male experience is promoted by the male gender role socialization. ...
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... Sabe-se que a literatura disponibiliza vários estudos referentes a autocompaixão e seus benefícios, além dos impactos na vida dos atletas, por exemplo, a níveis mais alto de autonomia, controle emocional e a menores níveis de medo, fracasso, frustrações Mosewich et al., 2011;Reis et al., 2015;Sutherland et al., 2014), o que faz compreender que a autocompaixão está associada a comportamentos e características positivas, diminuindo e minimizando comportamentos desadaptativos e características negativas. Na mesma direção, sugere-se que a autocompaixão está relacionada com índices menores de depressão, ansiedade, estresse (Bluth & Blanton, 2015;Marsh et al., 2018), menos envolvimento com comportamento auto lesivo Alguns estudos qualitativos demonstram preocupações sobre a autocompaixão no esporte, uma vez que pode ser considerado desafiador, especialmente para aqueles que compreendem a prática como algo que precisa de pressão, domínio, agressão Reilly et al., 2014;Sutherland et al., 2014). Diante disso, vários estudos indicaram os benefícios de abordar a autocompaixão no esporte (Crozier et al., 2019;Fergunson et al., 2014;Hoar et al., 2006;Mosewich et al, 2011). ...
... However, masculine norms, which encourage men to discount their emotions, often prevent males from engaging in self-help interventions/ activities and may have contributed to lower acceptability (Heath et al., 2017). Self-compassion techniques may be especially challenging as the construct appears incongruent with masculine norms, which often promote self-criticism (Reilly et al., 2014). ...
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Objective: Eating disorders (EDs) often emerge in late adolescence. Schools are ideal settings for prevention programs; however, cost and time limit implementation. Microinterventions may overcome these challenges. This study adapted two microinterventions (cognitive dissonance, self-compassion) and assessed feasibility and acceptability among mid-adolescents to provide proof-of-concept for further investigation. Method: Feedback from staff (n = 5) and student (n = 15) focus groups contributed iteratively to the adaptation of intervention materials. Students in Grade 10 and 11 (N = 101, Mage = 15.80, SD = 0.68) were then randomly allocated by class to a 20-min video-based cognitive-dissonance or self-compassion intervention, accessed on their school devices. ED risk and protective factors were assessed at baseline, immediate postintervention (state outcomes), and 1-week follow-up (trait outcomes). Acceptability items were included at both timepoints. Results: Implementation was deemed feasible. Girls generally reported greater acceptability than boys. Among girls, the self-compassion intervention demonstrated greater acceptability. Among boys, some aspects of acceptability (e.g., lesson endorsement, utilization of techniques) were rated higher in the cognitive dissonance group whereas other aspects (e.g., understanding, interest) were greater in the self-compassion group. All groups exhibited favorable changes in most state outcomes, however trait outcome change was varied. Discussion: Microinterventions provide a feasible way of implementing prevention strategies in a time-poor educational context. Future large-scale evaluation is warranted to determine efficacy, following modifications based on current findings. Public significance: This study shows promising feasibility and acceptability of two brief, self-guided video-based lessons (microinterventions) for adolescents in school classrooms, that use psychological techniques to target appearance pressures as a key risk factor for eating disorders. Such interventions are easier to implement in school settings than longer, facilitator-led interventions, to encourage greater uptake and ongoing use. Findings support further research to evaluate effectiveness, to ultimately provide accessible and gender-inclusive tools for busy schools.
... Gibt es einen Zusammenhang zwischen Self-Compassion und den besprochenen (Neff, 2003a). Vor allem Menschen mit niedrigen Self-Compassion-Werten ist es wichtig, sich an beispielsweise eigentlich einschränkend wirkenden Geschlechternormen zu orientieren (Reilly, Rochlen, & Awad, 2014;Schmuck, Petersen & Tandler, 2018 Die schon erwähnte Theorie der Sozialen Identität von Tajfel & Turner (1986, 1978, 1981 besagt, dass Individuen das Verlangen nach einem positiven Selbstwert haben. Ein positiver Selbstwert kann auch durch die Identifizierung mit einer positiv wahrgenommenen oder dargestellten Gruppe erlangt werden, wodurch es beispielsweise zu einem unkritischen Favorisieren der Eigengruppe kommen kann. ...
Thesis
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Neff (2003a) beschreibt Self-Compassion als Fähigkeit, sich selbst auch in schwierigen Lebenssituationen mitfühlend und in positiver Grundeinstellung zu begegnen. Ethnozentrismus ist die Wahrnehmung der Eigengruppe als Zentrum. Alles andere wird an ihr gemessen und bewertet, wobei Fremdgruppen meist abgewertet werden (Sumner, 1906; Neuliep & McCroskey, 1997). Das Konstrukt Autoritarismus, das Konservatismus und Unterordnung beschreibt, wurde in den 1950er Jahren durch Adorno, Frenkel-Brenswik, Levinson, & Sanford eingeführt und wird bis heute verwendet, um Vorurteile und Diskriminierung zu erklären (Bierlein, Asbrock, Kauff, & Schmidt, 2014). In der Autoritarismusforschung von Decker, Yendell & Brähler (2018) gilt die fehlende Wahrnehmung von Anerkennung als eine Ursache für autoritäre und ethnozentrische Verhaltensweisen. Daneben soll auch ein niedriger Selbstwert Ethnozentrismus und Autoritarismus vorhersagen können (Kehoe, 1982; Oesterreich, 2005). Es wird angenommen, dass Personen mit weniger Self-Compassion stärkere anti-demokratische Einstellungen zeigen. In einer Onlinebefragung, an der 153 Versuchspersonen teilnahmen, wurden Self-Compassion, Ethnozentrismus, Autoritarismus, Anerkennung und der Selbstwert erhoben. In den Korrelations-, Regressions-, und Mediationsanalysen konnte kein Zusammenhang zwischen Self-Compassion und anti-demokratischen Einstellungen festgestellt werden. In den Post-hoc-Analysen wurden allerdings Hinweise auf einen verstärkenden Einfluss von Self-Compassion gefunden, insbesondere in Form eines Moderationseffektes. Je weniger Self-Compassion eine Person zeigte, desto stärker war der Zusammenhang zwischen Ethnozentrismus und Autoritarismus. Die Ergebnisse wurden diskutiert und in den gesellschaftlichen sowie wissenschaftlichen Diskurs eingebettet.
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