Testing Direct and Indirect Ties of Self-Compassion with Subjective Well-Being
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Two studies considered the direct associations between self-compassion and areas of subjective well-being (SWB; experiences of affect, subjective happiness, life satisfaction), among incoming college students (N = 161) and college students across academic levels (N = 143). In each sample, self-compassion was correlated with each report of SWB, after controlling for demographics. Hierarchical regressions tested for direct ties of self-compassion with aspects of SWB beyond demographics, dispositional gratitude, and other areas of SWB. Results suggested that self-compassion was directly and uniquely tied to only subjective happiness across both samples. Lastly, we revisited each sample and explored multiple indirect effects between self-compassion and reports of SWB. We tested effects from self-compassion onto well-being via subjective happiness; a reversed model arrangement of effects from well-being onto self-compassion; and an alternative model that considered positive affect as an intervening variable rather than subjective happiness. Results suggested that the second arrangement of effects from SWB onto self-compassion via subjective happiness was best supported. Significant indirect effects of SWB to self-compassion through positive affect (Sample 2 only), negative affect, and life satisfaction were also supported. Findings reinforced ties between self-compassion and SWB, and suggest a particularly strong association between self-compassion and subjective happiness. This may be due to both constructs involving constructive forms of evaluating challenging experiences and the management of relatedness goals for maintaining reliable, positive ties with others.
KeywordsSelf-compassion Affect Subjective happiness Life satisfaction Gratitude
The first author was supported by a Southern Regional Education Board Doctoral fellowship during this project. We thank the Virginia Tech Office of First Year Experiences for their assistance with this project. The authors have no conflicts of interests regarding the current study.
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