Self-compassion and social anxiety disorder

Kelly H. Werner, Hooria Jazaieri, Philip R Goldin, Michal Ziv, Richard G. Heimberg, James J. Gross

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

121 Scopus citations


Self-compassion refers to having an accepting and caring orientation towards oneself. Although self-compassion has been studied primarily in healthy populations, one particularly compelling clinical context in which to examine self-compassion is social anxiety disorder (SAD). SAD is characterized by high levels of negative self-criticism as well as an abiding concern about others' evaluation of one's performance. In the present study, we tested the hypotheses that: (1) people with SAD would demonstrate less self-compassion than healthy controls (HCs), (2) self-compassion would relate to severity of social anxiety and fear of evaluation among people with SAD, and (3) age would be negatively correlated with self-compassion for people with SAD, but not for HC. As expected, people with SAD reported less self-compassion than HCs on the Self-Compassion Scale and its subscales. Within the SAD group, lesser self-compassion was not generally associated with severity of social anxiety, but it was associated with greater fear of both negative and positive evaluation. Age was negatively correlated with self-compassion for people with SAD, whereas age was positively correlated with self-compassion for HC. These findings suggest that self-compassion may be a particularly important target for assessment and treatment in persons with SAD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)543-558
Number of pages16
JournalAnxiety, Stress and Coping
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • compassion
  • self
  • self-compassion
  • social anxiety
  • social phobia
  • treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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