Year of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Department or School/College
Jennifer A. Waltz, Ph.D.
Lucian G. Conway, Ph.D., Bradley S. Clough, Ph.D.
University of Montana
Clinical Psychology | Counseling Psychology | Personality and Social Contexts | Psychology | Social Psychology
Self-compassion has consistently been found to be related to well-being (Barnard & Curry 2011). Most research has focused on the intrapersonal benefits of self-compassion, such as its positive relationships with happiness, optimism, positive affect (Neff & Vonk, 2009), and life satisfaction (Neff, Kirkpatrick, & Rude, 2007). In contrast, little research has addressed how engaging in self-compassion may be beneficial to one’s relationships. There is strong evidence that social connectedness (e.g. Lee, Draper, & Lee, 2001; Lee & Robbins, 1998; Mauss et al., 2011; Neff, 2003b) and interpersonal competence (e.g Fiori, Antonucci, & Cortina, 2006; Berkman & Syme, 1979; Delongis, Folkman, & Lazarus, 1988) are positively related to well-being in a variety of ways. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether self-compassion is related to social connectedness and interpersonal competence. Responding to oneself with self-compassion may allow a person to be more present and attentive to others in interpersonal contexts, rather than being self-critical and focused on one’s own manner of engaging. Two hundred thirty-one participants were recruited from a university in the pacific northwest and completed the Self-Compassion Scale (SCS; Neff, 2003b), Social Connectedness Scale-Revised (SCS-R; Lee, Draper, & Lee, 2001), and Interpersonal Competence Questionnaire (ICQ; Buhrmester, Furman, Wittenberg, & Reis, 1988). Self-compassion was examined as a global construct. In addition, six components of self-compassion were also explored: “(a) self-kindness—extending kindness and understanding to oneself, (b) common humanity—seeing one’s experiences as part of the larger human experience, and (c) mindfulness—holding one’s painful thoughts and feelings in balanced awareness,” as well as the opposites of these, (self-judgment versus self-kindness, isolation versus common humanity, and over-identification versus mindfulness; Neff, 2003b). Results indicated that: 1) self-compassion and all of its subscales are significantly related to social connectedness, 2) the self-kindness and isolation subscales of self-compassion are predictive of social connectedness, 3) people reporting a greater tendency toward self-compassion were more likely to report initiating interpersonal interactions with others, engaging in more self-disclosure, and offering more emotional support to others, and 4) the components of self-compassion are all significantly related to the initiation and self-disclosure domains of interpersonal competence, but they have a more complex relationship with emotional support. These results lend further support to the importance of self-compassion to interpersonal functioning and underscore its importance to well-being overall.
Bloch, Jacob H., "Self-Compassion, Social Connectedness, and Interpersonal Competence" (2018). Graduate Student Theses, Dissertations, & Professional Papers. 11224.
© Copyright 2018 Jacob H. Bloch