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Self-compassion in depression: associations with depressive symptoms, rumination, and avoidance in depressed outpatients.

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Publication date 2013
Author Krieger Tobias, Altenstein David, Baettig Isabelle, Doerig Nadja, Holtforth Martin Grosse,
Project Explicit and implicit change of depression in exposure-based cognitive therapy
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Behavior Therapy
Volume (Issue) 44(3)
Page(s) 501 - 13
Title of proceedings Behavior Therapy
DOI 10.1016/j.beth.2013.04.004


Self-compassion involves being kind to oneself when challenged with personal weaknesses or hardship and has been claimed to be associated with resilience in various areas. So far, there are only a handful of studies that investigate self-compassion and its relation to clinical depression. Therefore, the principal goals of the present study were (a) to compare self-compassion in clinically depressed patients and never-depressed subjects, (b) to investigate self-compassion and its relation to cognitive-behavioral avoidance and rumination in depressed outpatients, and (c) to investigate rumination and avoidance as mediators of the relationship between self-compassion and depressive symptoms. One hundred and forty-two depressed outpatients and 120 never-depressed individuals from a community sample completed a self-report measure of self-compassion along with other measures. Results indicate that depressed patients showed lower levels of self-compassion than never-depressed individuals, even when controlled for depressive symptoms. In depressed outpatients, self-compassion was negatively related to depressive symptoms, symptom-focused rumination, as well as cognitive and behavioral avoidance. Additionally, symptom-focused rumination and cognitive and behavioral avoidance mediated the relationship between self-compassion and depressive symptoms. These findings extend previous research on self-compassion, its relation to depression, as well as processes mediating this relationship, and highlight the importance of self-compassion in clinically depressed patients. Since depressed patients seem to have difficulties adopting a self-compassionate attitude, psychotherapists are well advised to explore and address how depressed patients treat themselves.