We examined the developmental trajectories of emotional exhaustion and sub-components of self-compassion (i.e., self-kindness, common humanity, and mindfulness), as well as the longitudinal relationships between emotional exhaustion and three components of self-compassion.
A total of 427 Chinese adolescent students reported their emotional exhaustion and self-compassion at about 2-month intervals from the beginning to the end of the spring semester which is a complete learning cycle. A latent growth curve analytical approach was used in our study.
The results of univariate latent growth curve models suggested that the mean level of emotional exhaustion increased over time, while the mean levels of self-kindness and mindfulness decreased through time. Additionally, parallel process models indicated that the initial levels of emotional exhaustion predicted the initial levels of self-kindness and mindfulness. Changes in emotional exhaustion predicted changes in self-kindness and mindfulness. Finally, initial levels of emotional exhaustion predicted changes in self-kindness, which suggests that high emotional exhaustion may be an antecedent to decreasing self-kindness. An additional analysis showed that gender did not moderate the above relationship patterns, indicating that the effects of emotional exhaustion on the sub-components of self-compassion were consistent across gender.
This study enriches the understanding of the longitudinal relationships between emotional exhaustion and sub-components of self-compassion in adolescent students. In addition, it provides promising information for future educational interventions, in that practitioners can promote self-compassion by alleviating emotional exhaustion in adolescent students.