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28-07-2020 | ORIGINAL PAPER | Uitgave 10/2020

Mindfulness 10/2020

Self-Compassion and Symptoms of Depression and Anxiety in Chinese Cancer Patients: the Mediating Role of Illness Perceptions

Mindfulness > Uitgave 10/2020
Lei Zhu, Jun Wang, Siyao Liu, Haiyan Xie, Yuqin Hu, Juntao Yao, Adelita V. Ranchor, Maya J. Schroevers, Joke Fleer
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An adaptive role of self-compassion for psychological functioning in cancer patients has been highlighted, yet less is known about the underlying mechanisms. This study aimed to examine the mediating role of cancer patients’ illness perceptions in the relations between self-compassion and psychological symptoms.


This cross-sectional study focused on 301 people with heterogeneous types of cancer. A self-reported questionnaire was used to collect participants’ levels of self-compassion, illness perceptions, and symptoms of depression and anxiety. Parallel mediation analyses were performed to examine the research questions.


The relation between self-compassion and depressive symptoms was mediated by perceived consequences and a timeline cyclical of cancer. Perceived consequences also mediated the relation between self-compassion and symptoms of anxiety, with an additional mediating role of personal control.


These findings suggest that both self-compassion and illness perceptions were closely linked with cancer patients’ psychological symptoms. Particularly, cancer patients who feel more self-compassionate perceive fewer negative consequences of cancer, a less timeline cyclical, and more personal control over their life and report fewer psychological symptoms.

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