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.
- social anxiety
- social phobia
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychiatry and Mental health
- Clinical Psychology
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Developmental and Educational Psychology