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21-11-2020 | ORIGINAL PAPER

Exploring the Role of Explicit and Implicit Self-Esteem and Self-Compassion in Anxious and Depressive Symptomatology Following Acquired Brain Injury

Lorena Desdentado, Ausiàs Cebolla, Marta Miragall, Roberto Llorens, María D. Navarro, Rosa M. Baños
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Acquired brain injury (ABI) can lead to the emergence of several disabilities and is commonly associated with high rates of anxiety and depression symptoms. Self-related constructs, such as self-esteem and self-compassion, might play a key role in this distressing symptomatology. Low explicit (i.e., deliberate) self-esteem is associated with anxiety and depression after ABI. However, implicit (i.e., automatic) self-esteem, explicit-implicit self-discrepancies, and self-compassion could also significantly contribute to this symptomatology. The purpose of the present study was to examine whether implicit self-esteem, explicit-implicit self-discrepancy (size and direction), and self-compassion are related to anxious and depressive symptoms after ABI in adults, beyond the contribution of explicit self-esteem.


The sample consisted 38 individuals with ABI who were enrolled in a long-term rehabilitation program. All participants completed the measures of explicit self-esteem, implicit self-esteem, self-compassion, anxiety, and depression. Pearson’s correlations and hierarchical regression models were calculated.


Findings showed that both self-compassion and implicit self-esteem negatively accounted for unique variance in anxiety and depression when controlling for explicit self-esteem. Neither the size nor direction of explicit-implicit self-discrepancy was significantly associated with anxious or depressive symptomatology.


The findings suggest that the consideration of self-compassion and implicit self-esteem, in addition to explicit self-esteem, contributes to understanding anxiety and depression following ABI.

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