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Xi Luo and Lei Qiao contributed equally to this work.
Self-compassion has increasingly been recognized to buffer stress and promote emotional health. However, few studies have examined the influences of self-compassion on physiological stress response. The current study aimed to investigate the impact of self-reported self-compassion on physiological stress response and negative affect induced in a laboratory setting. Healthy male participants (N = 34, Asians) were grouped into high (N = 17, age: mean = 19.65, SD = 0.59) or low (N = 17, age: mean = 19.71, SD = 0.82) self-compassion groups based on the Self-Compassion Scale. They were subjected to the Trier Social Stress Test, with electrocardiography recorded and negative affect assessed by the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule. Results demonstrated that self-compassionate individuals showed higher vagally mediated heart rate variability (vmHRV) at baseline (CI = [0.30, 0.91], p = 0.01). Interestingly, self-compassionate individuals demonstrated higher vmHRV to an acute stressor after an anticipated decrease in vmHRV (CI = [0.02, 0.67], p = 0.04). Moreover, self-compassionate individuals reported less negative affect in response to stress (CI = [− 8.29, − 0.42], p = 0.03). Our results demonstrate the role of self-compassion in the flexible adjustment of physiological and psychological responses to stress.
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- Self-compassion Modulates Heart Rate Variability and Negative Affect to Experimentally Induced Stress
- Springer US