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Self-Compassion Induction Reduces Anticipatory Anxiety Among Socially Anxious Students

Abstract

Self-compassion has been consistently linked to psychological well-being. This current study explored whether (a) inducing self-compassion would result in reduced state anxiety for a speech task and (b) whether this effect would be greater for individuals with high social anxiety, compared to those with low social anxiety. Undergraduate students (N = 118; high social anxiety n = 56; low social anxiety n = 62) were randomly assigned to a self-compassion writing or a control writing condition. Anticipatory anxiety (related to an upcoming speech) was measured. Only the participants with high social anxiety displayed lower levels of anticipatory anxiety in the self-compassion condition compared to the control condition. These results support the use of self-compassion practices for social anxiety.

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Acknowledgements

This work was supported by the Ministry of Research and Innovation.

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Authors

Contributions

EH: collaborated with the study design, data analyses and writing of the paper; collected data. NK: collaborated with the study design, data analyses and writing of the paper.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Nancy L. Kocovski.

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All procedures performed in studies 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.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

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Harwood, E.M., Kocovski, N.L. Self-Compassion Induction Reduces Anticipatory Anxiety Among Socially Anxious Students. Mindfulness 8, 1544–1551 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-017-0721-2

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Keywords

  • Self-compassion
  • Social anxiety disorder
  • Mindfulness
  • Anticipatory anxiety