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 vs. self-judgment, common humanity vs. isolation, and mindfulness vs. over-identification. Neff (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 (SCS). 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.
Dreisoerner, A., Junker, N.M., & van Dick, R. (in press). The relationship among the components of self-compassion: A pilot study using a compassionate writing intervention to enhance self-kindness, common humanity, and mindfulness. Journal of Happiness Studies.