Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Name

Clinical Psychology

Department or School/College

Department of Psychology

Committee Chair

Jennifer Waltz

Commitee Members

Lucien G. Conway, Yoonhee Jang, Kevin B. Dohr, Bradley S. Clough


Buddhism, Not-self, Self


The University of Montana


All individuals have notions about how they would likely approach themselves under times of stress, as well as the ways which would be most helpful to them. The present study investigated four broad ways of approaching the self under stressful circumstances: self-esteem, self-control, self-compassion, and not-self. Not-self, a concept based in Buddhist philosophy, is novel to a Western population, and was the primary focus. In order to comprehensively examine the concept, data were collected from 168 undergraduates on responses to stressful circumstances: by bolstering self-esteem, engaging in self-control behaviors, engendering a sense of self-compassion, or accepting/letting go thoughts, feelings, wants, and ultimately sense of self. The study also assessed the extent to which engaging in these approaches was related to personality, psychological adjustment, and psychological symptomology variables. Results indicated that, in spite of hurdles pertaining to lack of familiarity, aspects of not-self were considered viable for approaching the self when managing difficult circumstances. Additionallyùand unexpectedlyùassociations between psychological variables and not-self were strikingly consistent with fundamental aspects of Buddhist psychological theories of not-self.



© Copyright 2015 Christian Herwitz