Mindfulness, self-compassion, and gender as predictor of stress and well-being

Soysa, C. K., & Wilcomb, C. J. (2013). Mindfulness, Self-compassion, Self-efficacy, and Gender as Predictors of Depression, Anxiety, Stress, and Well-being. Mindfulness, 1-10. Abstract.

We examined facets of mindfulness (describing, awareness, non-judging, and non-reactivity), three dimensions of negative self-compassion (self-judgment, isolation, and overidentification), self-efficacy, and gender as predictors of depression, anxiety, stress, and well-being among 204 undergraduates in the USA.

Excerpts: Although there is overlap across these phenomena, previous research has not examined them together. Describing, non-judging, and awareness (inversely), as well as isolation and self-judgment, predicted depression. Only mindful non-judging and non-reactivity predicted anxiety (inversely). Non-judging, awareness, and non-reactivity (inversely), as well as isolation, predicted stress. Mindful describing and non-judging, together with self-efficacy and gender, predicted well-being. After accounting for self-efficacy, self-compassion, and gender, facets of mindfulness contributed unique variance in predicting depression, anxiety, stress, and well-being.

We confirmed the importance of mindful non-judging in predicting distress (inversely) and well-being and identified the particular contributions of mindful describing for depression (inversely) and well-being. We established the value of mindful non-reactivity (inversely) for anxiety and stress. Additionally, we confirmed the relevance of self-judgment and isolation for depression and of isolation for stress. Finally, we established self-efficacy and gender as predictors of well-being.

Self-compassion and mindfulness

Neff, K. D., & Dahm, K. A. (2013). Self-Compassion: What it is, what it does, and how it relates to mindfulness. Chapter to appear in Robinson, M., Meier, B., & Ostafin, B. (Eds.). Mindfulness and Self-Regulation. New York: Springer. Full text.

Over the past decade self-compassion has gained popularity as a related and complementary construct to mindfulness, and research on self-compassion is growing at an exponential rate. Self-compassion involves treating yourself with the same kindness, concern and support you’d show to a good friend.

When faced with difficult life struggles, or confronting personal mistakes, failures, and inadequacies, self-compassion responds with kindness rather than harsh self-judgment, recognizing that imperfection is part of the shared human experience. In order to give oneself compassion, one must be able to turn toward, acknowledge, and accept that one is suffering, meaning that mindfulness is a core component of self-compassion.

This chapter provides a comprehensive description of self-compassion and a review of the empirical literature supporting its psychological benefits.  Similarities and distinctions between mindfulness and self-compassion are also explored, as these have important implications for research and intervention. This chapter hopes to provide a compelling argument for the use of both self-compassion and mindfulness as important means to help individuals develop emotional resilience and wellbeing.