Self-Compassion, Self-Esteem, and Irrational Beliefs

  • Erin Stephenson
  • P. J. Watson
  • Zhuo Job Chen
  • Ronald J. Morris


Assumptions associated with Rational-Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) suggest that self-compassion, but not self-esteem, should be incompatible with irrational beliefs and with the emotional disturbances that they produce. In this study, 184 university students responded to a self-compassion scale along with measures of irrational beliefs, self-esteem, depression, and anxiety. As expected, self-compassion correlated negatively with irrationality, predicted better mental health, and explained inverse connections of self-esteem with irrational beliefs. In support of REBT, the irrationality of low frustration tolerance also partially mediated the inverse self-compassion relationship with anxiety. Other findings for self-esteem and for the irrational belief of self-worth, nevertheless, suggested complexities for the REBT conceptual framework. These data most importantly confirmed self-compassion as part of what REBT would describe as an effective personal philosophy.


Anxiety Depression Irrational beliefs Self-compassion Self-esteem 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

All four authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest. All procedures performed in this study involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Erin Stephenson
    • 1
  • P. J. Watson
    • 1
  • Zhuo Job Chen
    • 2
  • Ronald J. Morris
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Tennessee at ChattanoogaChattanoogaUSA
  2. 2.Oregon Department of Human Services and Oregon Health AuthorityOregon Enterprise Data AnalyticsSalemUSA

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