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16-08-2021 | ORIGINAL PAPER | Uitgave 10/2021

Mindfulness 10/2021

Positive Self-Compassion, Self-Coldness, and Psychological Outcomes in College Students: a Person-Centered Approach

Mindfulness > Uitgave 10/2021
Liyang Wu, Maya J. Schroevers, Lei Zhu
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Self-compassion is related to psychological outcomes. By examining wholistic concept of self-compassion, previous research has overlooked the possibility that people may differ in combination of positive self-compassion and self-coldness. This study, using a person-centered approach, aimed to identify subgroups of college students based on different profiles of positive self-compassion and self-coldness. We also examined how these profiles related to socio-demographic variables as well as psychological outcomes.


This cross-sectional study included 1029 Chinese college students. Self-reported questionnaires were used to collect levels of positive self-compassion and self-coldness (including six facets) and psychological outcomes (depressive symptoms, anxiety symptoms, negative affect, and positive affect). A latent profile analysis was performed to identify different profiles based on the six facets. The Bolck-Croon-Hagenaars approach was used to examine how profiles related to socio-demographic variables and psychological outcomes.


Five distinct profiles were identified: high self-coldness, low self-compassion (16.2%), high self-compassion, low self-coldness (17.2%), average self-compassion, average self-coldness (38.9%), low self-compassion, low self-coldness (17.5%), and high self-compassion, high self-coldness (10.2%). Older people tended to report high self-compassion, high self-coldness profile, and females tended to have high self-coldness, low self-compassion profile. People with high self-compassion, low self-coldness profile reported the best psychological outcomes, whereas those in high self-coldness, low self-compassion and high self-compassion, high self-coldness profiles experienced the worst outcomes.


We identified five subgroups with different combinations of the six facets of self-compassion and self-coldness. People with distinct profiles differed on psychological outcomes. Future research is needed to adopt longitudinal design and replicate our findings in different groups.

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