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08-01-2021 | REVIEW | Uitgave 5/2021

Mindfulness 5/2021

Self-Compassion and Coping: a Meta-Analysis

Mindfulness > Uitgave 5/2021
Christina Ewert, Annika Vater, Michela Schröder-Abé
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Supplementary Information

The online version contains supplementary material available at https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s12671-020-01563-8.

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Self-compassion, a positive and caring attitude toward oneself, has been identified as an important correlate of coping in stressful situations. High self-compassion is related to higher use of adaptive and less maladaptive coping in demanding or painful situations. However, estimates of these relations in terms of specific adaptive and maladaptive coping strategies have remained inconclusive. Therefore, the present meta-analysis investigates the relation between self-compassion and different forms of adaptive and maladaptive coping. It also takes into account potential moderators such as age, gender, and regional background.


A systematic literature search resulted in k = 136 samples with an overall sample size of N = 38,913. Random-effects models were used to integrate the z-transformed Pearson correlation coefficients.


Analyses yielded a positive correlation between self-compassion and adaptive coping (r = .306) and a negative correlation between self-compassion and maladaptive coping (r = − .500). The association of self-compassion with emotional approach coping was positive (r = .340), as was the association with problem-focused coping (r = .205). Participants’ age appeared to be a significant moderator of the relation between self-compassion and coping.


Self-compassion is important for understanding the mechanisms involved in coping with stress and demanding life events. The size and direction of correlations depend on the coping strategies considered, with protective effects of self-compassion with respect to maladaptive coping being the most pronounced. Further research should examine the relation between self-compassion and coping in more detail and focus on additional moderators.

Trial Registration

The registration identifier is CRD42018104926.

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