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01-08-2015 | ORIGINAL PAPER | Uitgave 4/2015

Mindfulness 4/2015

Self-Compassion and Well-Being in Parents of Children with Autism

Mindfulness > Uitgave 4/2015
Kristin D. Neff, Daniel J. Faso


Parents of children with autism are faced with difficult and unique daily stressors associated with their child’s disorder. The personal characteristics of parents can influence how they approach stressful life events and potentially help them cope with some of the deleterious effects associated with extreme stress. One factor that may be an important coping strategy is self-compassion, which involves being kind to oneself in times of difficulty, recognizing the shared nature of human suffering, and being mindfully aware of negative thoughts and emotions. This study examined the association between self-compassion and well-being in 51 parents of a child with autism using self-report measures. Self-compassion was positively associated with life satisfaction, hope, and goal reengagement and negatively associated with depression and parental stress. Even though child symptom severity is often the strongest predictor of negative adjustment for parents, self-compassion universally predicted parental well-being over and above the effects of child symptom severity. Results suggest that self-compassion may play a significant role in well-being for parents of children with autism. Implications for future research and applications of the construct of self-compassion are discussed.

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