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The Role of Self-Compassion in Buffering Symptoms of Depression in the General Population

The Role of Self-Compassion in Buffering Symptoms of Depression in the General Population

Plos one 10(10): E0136598

Self-compassion, typically operationalized as the total score of the Self-Compassion Scale (SCS; Neff, 2003b), has been shown to be related to increased psychological well-being and lower depression in students of the social sciences, users of psychology websites and psychotherapy patients. The current study builds on the existing literature by examining the link between self-compassion and depressive symptomatology in a sample representative of the German general population (n = 2,404). The SCS subscales of self-judgment, isolation, and over-identification, and the "self-coldness", composite score, which encompass these three negative subscales, consistently differed between subsamples of individuals without any depressive symptoms, with any depressive syndromes, and with major depressive disorder. The contribution of the positive SCS subscales of self-kindness, common humanity, and mindfulness to the variance in depressive symptomatology was almost negligible. However, when combined to a "self-compassion composite", the positive SCS subscales significantly moderated the relationship between "self-coldness" and depressive symptoms in the general population. This speaks for self-compassion having the potential to buffer self-coldness related to depression--providing an argument for interventions that foster self-caring, kind, and forgiving attitudes towards oneself.

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Accession: 059029882

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PMID: 26430893

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