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18-02-2016 | ORIGINAL PAPER | Uitgave 3/2016

Mindfulness 3/2016

The Potential Indirect Effect of Childhood Abuse on Posttrauma Pathology Through Self-Compassion and Fear of Self-Compassion

Mindfulness > Uitgave 3/2016
Lynsey R. Miron, Antonia V. Seligowski, Derrecka M. Boykin, Holly K. Orcutt


A growing evidence base suggests that increasing self-compassion is a valuable therapeutic target and may protect against the development and maintenance of posttrauma pathology. More recently, clinicians and researchers have noted that particular individuals respond to self-compassion with strong fear and resistance, a phenomenon known as fear of self-compassion. Yet to be examined is if survivors of childhood abuse exhibit fear of self-compassion and whether it relates to psychological functioning. The present model examined pathways from childhood physical and sexual abuse to symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression through self-compassion and fear of self-compassion using a college sample (N = 377). A main effect of childhood abuse type on fear of self-compassion scores was observed, while self-compassion scores did not significantly differ by abuse type. Path analyses using bootstrapping revealed a significant indirect effect of childhood sexual abuse on symptoms of depression and PTSD via fear of self-compassion, but not self-compassion. Findings suggest that fear of self-compassion may be uniquely related to trauma pathology for survivors of childhood sexual abuse, highlighting the potential value of addressing fear of self-compassion directly in posttraumatic intervention.

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