Advertisement

Self-Compassion, Self-Esteem, and Irrational Beliefs

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

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Anxiety Depression Irrational beliefs Self-compassion Self-esteem 

Notes

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.

References

  1. Baron, R. M., & Kenny, D. A. (1986). The moderator-mediator variable distinction in social psychological research: conceptual, strategic, and statistical considerations. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 51(6), 1173–1182.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Baumeister, R. R., Campbell, J. D., Krueger, J. J., & Vohs, K. D. (2008). Exploding the self-esteem myth. In S. O. Lilienfeld, J. Ruscio, S. J. Lynn, S. O. Lilienfeld, J. Ruscio, & S. J. Lynn (Eds.), Navigating the mindfield: a user's guide to distinguishing science from pseudoscience in mental health (pp. 575–587). Amherst: Prometheus Books.Google Scholar
  3. Costello, C. G., & Comrey, A. L. (1967). Scales for measuring depression and anxiety. Journal of Psychology, 66(2), 303–313.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Crocker, J., & Park, L. E. (2004). The costly pursuit of self-esteem. Psychological Bulletin, 130(3), 392–414.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. David, D., Szentagotai, A., Eva, K., & Macavei, B. (2005). A synopsis of rational-emotive behavior therapy (REBT): fundamental and applied research. Journal of Rational-Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy, 23(3), 175–221.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Davies, M. F. (2006). Irrational beliefs and unconditional self-acceptance. I. Correlational evidence linking two key features of REBT. Journal of Rational-Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy, 24(2), 113–124.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. DiGiuseppe, R., McGowan, L., Simon, K. S., & Gardner, F. (1990). A comparative outcome study of four cognitive therapies in the treatment of social anxiety. Journal of Rational-Emotive and Cognitive-Behavior Therapy, 8(3), 129–146.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Dryden, W. (2013). Unconditional self-acceptance and self-compassion. In M. E. Bernard & M. E. Bernard (Eds.), The strength of self-acceptance: theory, practice and research (pp. 107–120). New York: Springer Science + Business Media.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Ellis, A. (1994). Reason and emotion in psychotherapy. New York: Birch Lane Press.Google Scholar
  10. Ellis, A. (2005). The myth of self-esteem. Amherst: Prometheus Books.Google Scholar
  11. Emmelkamp, P. M., & Beens, H. (1991). Cognitive therapy with obsessive-compulsive disorder: a comparative evaluation. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 29(3), 293–300.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Engels, G. I., Garnefsky, N., & Diekstra, F. W. (1993). Efficacy of rational-emotive therapy: a quantitative analysis. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 61(6), 1083–1090.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Garcia, G. M., Watson, P. J., Cunningham, C. J. L., O’Leary, B. J., & Chen, Z. (2015). Narcissism and anger: self-esteem and contingencies of self-worth as mediating self-structure. Interpersona, 9(1), 59–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Ghorbani, N., Watson, P. J., Chen, Z., & Norballa, F. (2012). Self-compassion in Iranian Muslims: relationships with integrative self-knowledge, mental health, and religious orientation. International Journal for the Psychology of Religion, 22(2), 1–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Hayes, A. F. (2013). Introduction to mediation, moderation, and conditional process analysis: a regression-based approach. New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  16. Hewitt, J. P. (1998). The myth of self-esteem: finding happiness and solving problems in America. New York: St Martin's Press.Google Scholar
  17. Kassinove, H. (1986). Self-reported affect and core irrational thinking: a preliminary analysis. Journal of Rational-Emotive Therapy, 4(2), 119–130.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Kohut, H. (1977). The restoration of the self. New York: International Universities Press.Google Scholar
  19. Lyons, L. C., & Woods, P. J. (1991). The efficacy of rational-emotive therapy: a quantitative review of the outcome research. Clinical Psychology Review, 11(4), 357–369.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Macaskill, N. D., & Macaskill, A. (1996). Rational-emotive therapy plus pharmacotherapy versus pharmacotherapy alone in the treatment of high cognitive dysfunction depression. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 20(6), 575–592.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Mersch, P. P., Emmelkamp, P. M., & Lips, C. (1991). Social phobia: individual response patterns and the long-term effects of behavioural and cognitive interventions. A follow-up study. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 29(4), 357–362.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Muran, E. M., & Motta, R. W. (1993). Cognitive distortions and irrational beliefs in post-traumatic stress, anxiety, and depressive disorders. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 49(2), 166–176.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Muran, J. C., Kassinove, H., Ross, S., & Muran, E. (1989). Irrational thinking and negative emotionality in college students and applicants for mental health services. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 45(2), 188–193.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Neff, K. D. (2003a). Self-compassion: an alternative conceptualization of a healthy attitude toward oneself. Self and Identity, 2(2), 85–102.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Neff, K. D. (2003b). The development and validation of a scale to measure self-compassion. Self and Identity, 2(3), 223–250.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Neff, K. D. (2004). Self-compassion and psychological well-being. Constructivism in the Human Sciences, 9(2), 27–37.Google Scholar
  27. Neff, K. D., & Germer, C. K. (2013). A pilot study and randomized controlled trial of the mindful self-compassion program. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 69(1), 28–44.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Neff, K. D., & Vonk, R. (2009). Self-compassion versus global self-esteem: two different ways of relating to oneself. Journal of Personality, 77(1), 23–50.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. Neff, K. D., Kirkpatrick, K., & Rude, S. S. (2007). Self-compassion and adaptive psychological functioning. Journal of Research in Personality, 41(1), 139–154.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Raes, F. (2011). The effect of self-compassion on the development of depression symptoms in a non-clinical sample. Mindfulness, 2(1), 33–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Raes, F., Pommier, E., Neff, K. D., & Van Gucht, D. (2011). Construction and factorial validation of a short form of the self-compassion scale. Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy, 18(3), 250–255.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Rosenberg, M. (1965). Society and adolescent self-image. Princeton: Princeton University.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Russell, D., Peplau, L. A., & Cutrona, C. E. (1980). The revised UCLA loneliness scale: concurrent and discriminant validity evidence. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 39(3), 472–480.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  34. Russell, D., Cutrona, C. E., Rose, J., & Yurko, K. (1984). Social and emotional loneliness: an examination of Weiss's typology of loneliness. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 46(6), 1313–1321.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. Shelley, A. M., Battaglia, J., Lucely, J., Ellis, A., & Opler, A. (2001). Symptom-specific group therapy for inpatients with schizophrenia. Einstein Quarterly Journal of Biology and Medicine, 18(1), 21–28.Google Scholar
  36. Sinclair, S. J., Blais, M. A., Gansler, D. A., Sandberg, E., Bistis, K., & LoCicero, A. (2010). Psychometric properties of the Rosenberg self-esteem scale: overall and across demographic groups living within the United States. Evaluation & the Health Professions, 33(1), 56–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Smeets, E., Neff, K., Alberts, H., & Peters, M. (2014). Meeting suffering with kindness: effects of a brief self-compassion intervention for female college students. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 70(9), 794–807.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  38. Wang, C., Jia, F., Fang, R., Zhu, Y., & Huang, Y. (1999). Comparative study of rational-emotive therapy for 95 patients with dysthymic disorder. Chinese Mental Health Journal, 13, 172–183.Google Scholar
  39. Watson, P. J. (2005). Complexity of narcissism and a continuum of self-esteem regulation. In M. Maj, H. S. Akiskal, J. E. Mezzich, & A. Okasha (Eds.), Personality disorders (pp. 336–338). New York: John Wiley & Sons.Google Scholar
  40. Watson, P. J., Biderman, M. D., & Boyd, C. (1989). Androgyny as synthetic narcissism: sex role measures and Kohut's psychology of the self. Sex Roles, 21(3–4), 175–207.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Watson, P. J., Simmons, N. M., Weathington, B. L., O’Leary, B. J., & Culhane, S. E. (2009). Psychometric analysis and tentative shortening of survey of personal beliefs. Journal of Rational-Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy, 27(4), 201–212.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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

Personalised recommendations