Self-compassion is associated with less depressive symptoms, better mental health outcomes, and less disability in chronic pain (CP). However, it remains longitudinally unexplored the role of self-compassion in CP. Also, although it acknowledged the conceptual overlapping between mindfulness and self-compassion, few studies have explored the role of self-compassion in CP while controlling for mindfulness in a longitudinal design.
The current study conducts correlational and hierarchical linear regression analyses in a sample of 86 women with CP who completed an online battery of questionnaires that assess pain intensity, functional impairment, depressive symptoms, mindfulness, and self-compassion in three time points: baseline (T0), 6 months (T1), and 12 months (T2).
Results show that self-compassion (but not mindfulness) significantly predicts depressive symptoms at T1 and at T2 above and beyond depressive symptoms and functional impairment. Also, the interaction between functional impairment and self-compassion at T0 significantly predicts depressive symptoms at T1, but not at T2.
These findings expand the current knowledge on the role of self-compassion in CP in showing that self-compassion is a significant predictor of later depressive symptoms in CP and suggesting its potential role in buffering the impact of functional impairment in future levels of depressive symptoms.