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11-03-2020 | ORIGINAL PAPER | Uitgave 6/2020

Mindfulness 6/2020

Self-Compassion Relates to Reduced Unethical Behavior Through Lower Moral Disengagement

Tijdschrift:
Mindfulness > Uitgave 6/2020
Auteurs:
Ying Yang, Zhen Guo, Junhui Wu, Yu Kou
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Abstract

Objectives

Abundant evidence has demonstrated that self-compassion robustly contributes to individuals’ psychological well-being. Yet, less is known about the social benefits of self-compassion. The present research sought to test whether self-compassion is related to less unethical behavior, as well as the mediating role of moral disengagement in this relation.

Methods

Across two studies in China, a college student sample (study 1, N = 222; 24% men, Mage = 19.44 years) and a large adolescent sample (study 2, N = 3236; 46% boys, Mage = 15.66 years) were recruited to complete measures of self-compassion, moral disengagement, and unethical behavior.

Results

Structural equation models revealed that self-compassion was negatively associated with unethical behavior (study 1, β = − 0.23, p = 0.006; study 2, β = − 0.19, p < 0.001) and that a lower level of moral disengagement explained the negative association between self-compassion and unethical behavior (study 1, indirect effect = − 0.14, p = 0.012, 95% CI [− 0.24, − 0.03]; study 2, indirect effect = − 0.08, p < 0.001, 95% CI [− 0.11, − 0.06]).

Conclusions

The findings support the notion that self-compassion decreases unethical behavior tendency through a lower level of moral disengagement, which expands our understanding of the adaptive functions of self-compassion in the social context.

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