College Student Drinkers Have Higher Self-Compassion Scores than Nondrinkers

  • Lauren Ellingwood
  • Marc-Anthony Espinoza
  • Mayra Acevedo
  • Lisa E. Olson
Brief Report


Forgiveness, particularly forgiveness of oneself, has been associated with lower alcohol use in several samples. We aimed to confirm this finding in college students and expand it by exploring the relationship of self-compassion to alcohol use. Surprisingly, we found that students who drank (n = 54) scored higher than nondrinkers (n = 30) on the self-kindness and mindfulness aspects of the Self-Compassion Scale, as well as the self-forgiveness aspect of the Heartland Forgiveness Scale. There was no statistical difference between social drinkers and binge drinkers. The relationships of self-compassion and forgiveness to alcohol use and abuse should be further investigated to clarify conflicting results, and a longitudinal cohort study could be particularly useful in elucidating whether self-compassion and forgiveness are related to one’s decision to drink alcohol at all.


Self-compassion Forgiveness Alcohol Binge drinking College students 



The authors would like to thank Dr. Celine Ko and Dr. Fran Grace for their contributions to this project.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

All procedures followed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation (institutional and national) and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2000.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Statement of Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all patients for being included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lauren Ellingwood
    • 1
  • Marc-Anthony Espinoza
    • 1
  • Mayra Acevedo
    • 1
  • Lisa E. Olson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologyUniversity of RedlandsRedlandsUSA

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