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25-11-2017 | REVIEW | Uitgave 4/2018 Open Access

Mindfulness 4/2018

Self-compassion and Psychological Distress in Adolescents—a Meta-analysis

Mindfulness > Uitgave 4/2018
Imogen C. Marsh, Stella W. Y. Chan, Angus MacBeth


Research indicates that self-compassion is relevant to adolescents’ psychological well-being, and may inform the development of mental health and well-being interventions for youth. This meta-analysis synthesises the existing literature to estimate the magnitude of effect for the association between self-compassion and psychological distress in adolescents. Our search identified 19 relevant studies of adolescents (10–19 years; N = 7049) for inclusion. A large effect size was found for an inverse relationship between self-compassion and psychological distress indexed by anxiety, depression, and stress (r = − 0.55; 95% CI  − 0.61 to − 0.47). The identified studies were highly heterogeneous, however sensitivity analyses indicated that correction for publication bias did not significantly alter the pattern of results. These findings replicate those in adult samples, suggesting that lack of self-compassion may play a significant role in causing and/or maintaining emotional difficulties in adolescents. We conclude that self-compassion may be an important factor to target in psychological distress and well-being interventions for youth.

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