The Relationships Between Psychological Flexibility, Self-Compassion, and Emotional Well-Being

Springer Publishing Company
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy, 2016, 30 (1), pp. 60 - 72
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Despite theoretical overlap between self-compassion and psychological flexibility, empirical links between these constructs is limited. This study examined the relationships between psychological flexibility, self-compassion, and emotional well-being to add to the literature on understanding the importance of self-compassion as a possible contributor to mental health, adding support to continuing development of compassion-based therapies. Relationships among these constructs were explored using survey data from a sample of 144 university psychology students (110 females and 34 males, aged 17–60 years). Self-compassion was significantly correlated with psychological flexibility processes, including mindful acceptance, defusion, and emotional well-being. Regression analyses indicated that self-compassion predicts significant unique variance above and beyond psychological flexibility across various indices of emotional well-being. These findings support the association between psychological flexibility, self-compassion, and emotional well-being, with implications for 3rd-wave models of therapy, including acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) and compassion-based approaches. Therapies incorporating compassion processes may potentially lead to improved treatment outcomes.
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