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Objectives Several studies suggest that self‐criticism and self‐reassurance operate through different mechanisms and might interact with each other. This study examined the hypothesis that self‐reassurance serves as a buffer between self‐criticism and depressive symptoms in a way that self‐esteem, which is rooted in a different motivational system, may not. Design We hypothesized that self‐criticism would be correlated with high levels of depressive symptoms, but that this association would be weaker at higher levels of self‐reassurance abilities. We also hypothesized that self‐esteem, a self‐relating process based on feeling able and competent to achieve life goals, would not buffer the relationship between self‐criticism and depression. Methods Self‐criticism, self‐reassurance, depressive symptoms, and self‐esteem were assessed in a sample of 419 participants (66% females; Mage = 33.40, SD = 11.13). Results At higher levels of self‐reassurance, the relationship between self‐criticism and depressive symptoms became non‐significant, supporting the buffering hypothesis of self‐reassurance. Despite the high correlation between self‐esteem and self‐reassurance, self‐esteem did not moderate the relationship between self‐criticism and depressive symptoms. Conclusions Results support the growing evidence that not all positive self‐relating processes exert the same protective function against psychopathological consequences of self‐criticism. Implications for psychotherapy and the validity of using compassion‐focused interventions with clients with self‐critical issues are discussed. Practitioner points • Self‐reassurance and self‐criticism are distinct processes and they should not be considered positive and negative variations of a single dimension • Different types of positive self‐relating do not show the same correlation with depressive symptoms. • The ability to be self‐reassuring protects against the psychopathological correlates of self‐criticism while having high self‐esteem does not. • Compassion‐focused interventions are promising avenues to help clients counteract the negative impact of self‐criticism on mood.
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... Within parallel mediation models used to date to explore the links between various personality factors influencing depression, self-reassurance has not consistently mediated the relationship (Kotera & Maughan, 2020). It is proposed by the current researchers that this may be due to a conceptual issue, and that the role of self-reassurance, rather than mediating the relationship between the personality factor, i.e. shame or derailment, and depression, acts instead as a moderator on the direct effect of the predictor as demonstrated by Cunha et al. (2018) and also on the mediated effect through self-criticism as found by Petrocchi et al. (2019). The conceptual path of this exploratory model is visualised in Figure 1. ...
... An a priori power analysis using G*Power (Faul et al., 2009), at α = .05, two-tailed, based on moderate to large effect sizes found in recent related studies (Castilho et al., 2015;Kotera, Adhikari, et al., 2020;Marta-Simões et al., 2017;Petrocchi et al., 2019), determined a minimum sample of 90 participants to detect effects at power 1-β = .95 for the proposed multiple regression based analyses with three predictors. ...
... That higher scores in derailment were related to higher self-criticism and reduced self-reassurance are indicative of the effect losing one's sense of identity continuity through time can have on one's modes of self-relating. That the interaction of these psychological factors is related to depression provides evidence for the theoretical model proposed from the literature (Duarte et al., 2017;Gilbert, 2009;Petrocchi et al., 2019), and provides a novel insight into individual differences in personality that may influence an individual's vulnerability to depression. As such, the present research has shown the derailment scale to be a promising screening tool to identify individuals potentially vulnerable to depression, in Western populations at least. ...
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UK depression prevalence is increasing. In this study we appraised the relationships between psychological factors of derailment, self-criticism, self-reassurance and depression, to identify individual differences within the UK general population indicating those at higher risk. Participants completed self-report measures regarding these constructs. Relationships were assessed using correlation and path analyses. Derailment and self-criticism predicted depression positively, whereas self-reassurance predicted depression negatively. Self-criticism mediated derailment’s relation to depression. Self-reassurance moderated derailment’s relation to depression, with low self-reassurance indicating greater depression, though self-reassurance was not found to moderate the effect of derailment-associated self-criticism on depression. In depression treatment therefore derailment should be considered as a target factor to be reduced, since derailment indicates a risk of depression for individuals with high self-criticism or low self-reassurance. .
... In fact, the ability to self-reassure and recognise one's strengths during suffering has reduced depression in clinical and non-clinical groups (Castilho et al., 2015). Studies have found that whilst self-criticism inhibits compassion and correlates with depressive symptomatology, higher ability to self-reassure could weaken this relationship between self-criticism and depression (Petrocchi et al., 2019). This indicates that although it has been discovered that external shame and attachment insecurities can suppress one's compassion (Gilbert & Irons, 2005), a soothing-affiliation system with others can increase compassion across all three flows (Gilbert, 2005a). ...
... Whilst compassion is a sensitivity to suffering with the motivation to relieve that suffering, self-reassurance possesses the ability to soothe or reassure oneself during times of distress . Thus, self-compassion and self-reassurance have indicated strong correlations (Hermanto & Zuroff, 2016), which is unsurprising as self-reassurance buffers depression and self-criticism, both of which have shown negative correlations with self-compassion (Petrocchi et al., 2019). In support, found that self-compassion and self-reassurance were significantly higher in a Portuguese sample, which also indicated the lowest depression and anxiety scores in comparison to UK and USA samples. ...
Thesis
The concept and benefits of practicing compassion have been recognised and discussed in the contemplative traditions for thousands of years. However, it is within the last two to three decades, that research and psychotherapy have shown an increased interest in integrating compassion for addressing mental health difficulties and increased well-being. Although heavily influenced by Buddhist philosophy and Eastern traditions, compassion related studies and interventions are mostly developed and applied in the Western communities. In fact, compassion-based studies are particularly scarce in the Asian context. Therefore, whilst briefly outlining the theories and existing compassion-based interventions, this thesis explored the cross-cultural applicability of compassion-based interventions in the Asian communities. A rigorous qualitative investigation discussed that compassion is a culturally embraced concept in Sri Lanka, a Buddhist influenced, collectivistic Asian community, and discussed the challenges Sri Lankan participants (n = 10) experience when practicing compassion. Participants discussed that showing compassion to others was easier than showing compassion to themselves, whilst religion, society, and upbringing influenced these experiences. To understand whether these compassionate experiences are similar across cultures, a cross-sectional quantitative study was conducted among Sri Lankan (n = 149) and UK (n = 300) participants. This study indicated that some similarities (e.g., compassion to and from others, depression, anxiety) and some differences (e.g., self-compassion and self-reassurance, fears of compassion and external shame were higher in the Sri Lankan group, and social safeness was higher in the UK group) existed in the levels of compassion, and facilitators and inhibitors of compassion across the two samples. Therefore, it was important to note that the impact of compassion-based interventions might have cross-cultural differences. To test this, a longitudinal Compassionate Mind Training was implemented among Sri Lankan (n = 21) and UK participants (n = 73), which produced promising results towards increasing compassion for the self and others, along with significant reductions in distress and improvements in well-being in participants across both countries. Thus, this thesis suggests that although research is limited in exploring the cross-cultural applicability of compassion, compassion-based interventions can be used effectively in the Asian communities.
... Loredana Buonaccorso, PsyD, 1 Silvia Tanzi, PhD, 2 and Ludovica De Panfilis, PhD 3 ...
... A compassion-centered care approach focuses on working on self-criticism, guilt, and shame, and the personal relationship with fears, blocks, and resistances to compassion and positive emotions. 2 HCPs have to adopt a compassionate approach toward themselves concerning limits and difficulties. This type of learning would help them exercise the same attitude with patients. ...
... Little is known about how six dimensions of self-compassion function together in distinct patterns to influence psychological adjustment outcomes in college students. As selfcompassion has been admitted as a multidimensional construct Neff et al., 2018aNeff et al., , 2019Petrocchi et al., 2018), we aimed to explore the integral contributions of different self-compassion dimensions to psychological adjustments in college students. Based on two waves of data collected in Chinese college students during the COVID-19 period, the current study firstly adopted the person-centered approach to identify the combination profiles of six selfcompassion dimensions to explore its multi-dimensionality. Secondly, the study examined the predictive effects of selfcompassion profiles on positive and negative psychological adjustment outcomes. ...
... Overall, the results indicated the advantages of using 6-dimensional scores compared to the total score or 2 separate scores. Besides, there is growing evidence that self-compassion is constituted with six distinct but interrelated factors (Cleare et al., 2018;Neff et al., 2018aNeff et al., , 2019Petrocchi et al., 2018). It is worthwhile to detail the research on the multidimensional nature of self-compassion using 6-dimensional scores (Neff et al., 2018a(Neff et al., , 2019. ...
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The multi-dimensionality of self-compassion and its influence on college students’ adjustments have not been widely examined during the COVID-19 pandemic. The current study aims to explore profiles of self-compassion dimensions in Chinese college students and examine the predictive effects of different profiles on students’ adjustment outcomes. A longitudinal online survey of college students was conducted in mainland China. In May of 2020, college students (N = 1361) completed Neff’s Self-Compassion Scale—Short Form during the home quarantine period. Six months after the baseline assessment, students (N = 717) reported their level of anxiety symptoms, depression symptoms, insomnia symptoms, complex post-traumatic stress (CPTSD) symptoms, post-traumatic growth (PTG), and positive youth development (PYD). A latent profile analysis was adopted to identify profiles of self-compassion dimensions. A longitudinal regression mixture model was used to examine the predictive effects of different self-compassion profiles on college students’ adjustment outcomes. Three classes best characterized the self-compassion dimensions of college students: the compassionate group (54.1%), the uncompassionate group (38.6%), and the extremely uncompassionate group (7.3%). College students in the compassionate group scored significantly higher on positive adjustment indicators (PTG and PYD), and significantly lower on negative adjustment indicators (anxiety, depression, insomnia, and CPTSD symptoms) than students in the other two groups. College students in the uncompassionate group scored significantly lower on negative indicators, and higher on PYD scores than students in the extremely uncompassionate group, but did not differ in PTG levels from students in the extremely uncompassionate group. College students in the compassionate group adjusted best across groups. The limitations that using a composite score to represent the relative balance of self-compassion dimensions were highlighted. Intervention programs need to focus on improving the level of positive self-responses in college students.
... In fact, the ability to self-reassure and recognise one's strengths during suffering has reduced depression in clinical and non-clinical groups (Castilho et al., 2013). Studies have found that whilst self-criticism inhibits compassion and correlates with depressive symptomatology, higher ability to self-reassure could weaken this relationship between self-criticism and depression (Petrocchi et al., 2019). This indicates that although it has been discovered that external shame and attachment insecurities can suppress one's compassion (Gilbert and Irons, 2005), a soothing-affiliation system with others can increase compassion across all three flows (Gilbert, 2005a). ...
... Whilst compassion is a sensitivity to suffering with the motivation to relieve that suffering, self-reassurance possesses the ability to soothe or reassure oneself during times of distress (Gilbert et al., 2004). Thus, self-compassion and self-reassurance have indicated strong correlations ), which is unsurprising as self-reassurance buffers depression and self-criticism, both of which have shown negative correlations with self-compassion (Petrocchi et al., 2019). In support, Gilbert et al. (2017) found that self-compassion and self-reassurance were significantly higher in a Portuguese sample, which also indicated the lowest depression and anxiety scores in comparison with the UK and USA samples. ...
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Background Practising compassion has shown to increase well-being and reduce distress in people across cultures. However, very little research has explored cultural differences in different facets of compassion with a dearth of research evident especially in the Asian context. Several inhibitors and facilitators of compassion have been identified although the nuances of cultural differences of these remain unexploited. This study aimed to discover cross-cultural similarities and differences of the levels of compassion, facilitators and inhibitors of compassion between Sri Lankan and UK people. Methods A cross-sectional, questionnaire-based quantitative research was conducted among 149 Sri Lankan and 300 UK participants. Individual predictors (such as fears of compassion, self-reassurance, external shame, social safeness and pleasure, depression and anxiety) were also explored in relation to compassion, compassion to others, and compassion from others in each group. Results The results indicated that Sri Lankan participants were more self-reassured and self-compassionate and self-identifying as a Buddhist predicted higher self-compassion, when compared to UK participants. However, Sri Lankan participants reported higher levels of external shame and fear of compassion not just towards themselves, but also towards and from others, indicating difficulty in engaging compassionately with others. In contrast, UK participants reported higher social safeness, indicating that they were more likely to feel safe and soothed by the society than the Sri Lankan participants. Conclusions Society plays a pivotal role in shaping one's experiences of compassion. This study suggests that specific cultural and social factors should be considered when implementing Western compassionate approaches to non-Western settings.
... Rather, self-coldness represents a distinct construct that may be experienced even in the presence of elements of selfcompassion (Brenner et al., 2018). Importantly, research has demonstrated that aspects of self-compassion and selfcoldness vary in the presence of, and strength of, their associations with various psychological constructs (Muris & Petrocchi, 2017;Petrocchi et al., 2019). ...
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Objectives Racial discrimination can have deleterious effects on the mental health of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) individuals. Understanding mechanisms that contribute to the development of mental health symptoms in BIPOC populations in the context of discrimination is an essential component in treating such concerns within these groups. This study examined whether elements of self-compassion (i.e., self-kindness, mindfulness, common humanity, self-judgment, over-identification, and isolation) buffered against, or exacerbated, negative mental health outcomes in BIPOC college students experiencing racial discrimination. Methods Participants were 100 BIPOC college students (Mage = 22.07, SD = 5.57, 69.2% female) from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds (1.0% Native American, 32.0% Asian, 37.0% Black, 24.0% Latinx, 4.0% Middle Eastern/North African, 3.0% Multiracial/Multiethnic). A cross-sectional survey was utilized to examine elements of self-compassion as a moderator of the relationship between racial discrimination and symptoms of anxiety and depression and somatic symptoms. Results Some, but not all, elements of self-compassion were associated with mental health outcomes. Self-judgment emerged as the only moderator. Specifically, the relationship between the experience of discrimination with both somatic and anxiety symptoms was stronger for individuals who endorsed higher self-judgment. Conclusions Findings suggest that self-judgment may play a unique role in the experience of mental health symptoms among BIPOC individuals who face discrimination.
... Here we conducted an fMRI experiment which examined two distinct self-relating styles, self-criticism and self-reassurance (Petrocchi et al., 2019;Kim et al., 2020a,b,c), when participants imagined themselves responding to mistakes, setbacks or failures. Importantly, we designed our experiment to deliberately tease apart neural markers of negative emotion, first by manipulating an emotional-neutral contrast at the first level of fMRI analysis, and explored how this activation may differ across self-criticism and self-reassurance. ...
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Whilst research has shown how self-criticism may increase both neural and self-report markers of negative emotion, less well-known is how self-reassurance—a compassionately-motivated cognitive self-relating style—may regulate negative emotion. Using fMRI, we invited participants to engage in self-criticism and self-reassurance toward written descriptions of negative life events (mistakes, setbacks, failures). Our results identify that neural markers of negative emotion and self-report markers of trial intensity during fMRI are down-regulated under conditions of self-reassurance, relative to self-criticism. Future work to control for autobiographical memory during this fMRI task is needed, as are controls for how well participants can engage in both thinking styles, to explore how memory/task engagement can contribute to self-reassurance and self-criticism. Engagement in self-reassurance can reduce the “sting” of negative life-events, both neural and self-report, which holds important implications for therapy.
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Background: Veterinarians report high levels of psychological distress and self-criticism. However, there is minimal research investigating psychological interventions for veterinarians. Evidence suggests that compassion-focused therapy is effective at reducing distress in those with high self-criticism. This study aimed to investigate the feasibility and preliminary effectiveness of a 2-week online compassionate imagery intervention for veterinarians. Methods: A one-group repeated measures design was used with 128 veterinarians. Participants completed measures of perfectionism, self-criticism, self-reassurance and fears of compassion four times, at 2-week intervals (at baseline, pre-intervention, post-intervention and 2-week follow-up). Participants answered written questions about their intervention experience post-intervention. Results: Content analysis of the qualitative data found the intervention to be acceptable and beneficial to participants. Overall, study attrition was 50.8%, which is reasonable for a low-cost intervention. Minimal differences were found between participants who dropped out compared to those who completed the intervention. Perfectionism, work-related rumination and self-criticism were significantly reduced post-intervention, and these effects were maintained at follow-up. Resilience and self-reassurance remained unchanged. Fears of compassion reduced over the baseline period and pre-post intervention, questioning the validity of the measure. Conclusion: Overall, in the context COVID-19, the intervention showed impressive feasibility and preliminary effectiveness. Randomised control trials are recommended as the next step for research to establish the intervention's effectiveness.
Article
Objectives: The goals of this study were to determine whether self-reflection is a beneficial exercise for highly self-critical individuals and to examine the effects of self-focused thought including reflection and rumination on mood. This was investigated by measuring the levels of self-criticism, as well as mood before and after exposure to a reflective prompt or a ruminative prompt. Design: Experimental design with random assignment to reflection, rumination or control groups. Methods: 243 participants from a sample recruited on prolific provided demographic information and completed measures of current mood and self-criticism. All participants were then asked to remember a time they made a mistake that had a significant impact on them and describe the mistake briefly. Participants were then randomly assigned to a self-focus condition (reflection, rumination or control). After being assigned and completing the prompt, their mood was measured again. Results: Hierarchical multiple regressions were used to measure the potential combined effects of self-criticism and self-focused thought on change in emotion. The results showed that participants with high levels of maladaptive self-criticism (hated self-subscale) experienced a significant decrease in negative emotions, indicating improved mood. Conclusions: This suggests that reflection may be a beneficial exercise for highly self-critical individuals. Participants in the rumination group experienced no significant change in emotion, indicating how rumination can perpetuate negative affect and is therefore an important issue to be addressed in psychotherapy.
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