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The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s12671-017-0792-0) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Disclosure of personal distress is linked to important interpersonal and intrapersonal benefits. However, people who tend to view self-disclosure as being risky are likely to conceal their feelings and forgo opportunities to receive valuable social support. One such group of people may be those who fear receiving compassion. The current study of 85 female undergraduates investigated (a) whether fear of receiving compassion would predict decreased distress disclosure and (b) whether inducing a self-compassionate mindset could help to temper the association between fear of receiving compassion and perceived risks of revealing one’s distress to others. Participants completed self-report questionnaires to measure trait-like fears of receiving compassion as well as general distress disclosure tendencies. They were then enrolled in a laboratory experiment in which they recalled a personal past negative experience and were randomly assigned to write about it in a self-compassionate, self-esteem enhancing, or non-directive way. Finally, they rated how risky disclosing their experience would feel and disclosed the event in a written letter to another person. At a trait level, results indicated that the more participants feared receiving compassion, the less they tended to disclose. Moreover, self-compassion training—but neither of the comparison conditions—significantly weakened the positive link between fear of receiving compassion and perceived risks of distress disclosure. These novel findings suggest that practicing self-compassion could help to neutralize the maladaptive relationship between fear of receiving compassion and perceived risk of disclosure.
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- Practicing Self-Compassion Weakens the Relationship Between Fear of Receiving Compassion and the Desire to Conceal Negative Experiences from Others
Jessica R. Dupasquier
Allison C. Kelly
David A. Moscovitch
- Springer US