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11-02-2019 | Original Paper | Uitgave 5/2019 Open Access

Journal of Child and Family Studies 5/2019

Self-compassion and Adolescents’ Positive and Negative Cognitive Reactions to Daily Life Problems

Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 5/2019
Peter Muris, Henry Otgaar, Cor Meesters, Amber Heutz, Michelle van den Hombergh
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To examine the relationship between self-compassion and positive and negative cognitive reactions to daily life problems in a sample of 117 adolescents aged 14–19 years.


Participants completed a survey containing the Self-Compassion Scale (SCS), the Adolescents’ Reactions to Adversity Questionnaire – a self-developed scale for measuring cognitive responses to hypothetical scenarios describing daily life problems of young people (e.g., failing an important test, breaking up with a friend), and measures of neuroticism and self-esteem (control variables).


Self-compassion as indexed by the SCS total score was found to be associated with higher levels of positive cognitive reactions and lower levels of negative cognitive reactions. These relations remained present when controlling for neuroticism and self-esteem. Further analyses revealed a quite differential pattern of results for the compassionate (self-kindness, common humanity, and mindfulness) and uncompassionate (self-judgment, isolation, and over-identification) components of the SCS.


This study indicates that self-compassion is a relevant construct for understanding adolescents’ cognitive responses to daily problems and yields new evidence for our critical point that it is inappropriate to use the total self-compassion score in a context of protection and resilience against life stress.

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