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The Role of Self-Compassion in Minority Stress Processes and Life Satisfaction among Sexual Minorities in Hong Kong

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Abstract

Objectives

Self-compassion has consistently been linked to positive health outcomes. Emerging evidence has been gathered that reveals self-warmth and self-coldness as two distinctive components of self-compassion in cultures that embrace dialecticism (i.e., a belief that change is constant, contradictions coexist, and everything is interconnected). Each of these components contributed unique variances in explaining health outcomes. While self-compassion may be particularly relevant for the stigmatized population such as lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) people given their exposure to and internationalization of public stigma, little evidence has been gathered to clarify the links of self-compassion, proximal stressors, and well-being among LGB people in dialectical cultures.

Method

Using a sample of 505 LGB adults in Hong Kong, this study examined how the two self-compassion components were linked to life satisfaction via proximal stressors and whether the self-compassion dimensions moderated the links between proximal stressors and life satisfaction.

Results

Results indicated that internalized homonegativity partially mediated the association between components of self-compassion (i.e., self-warmth and self-coldness) and life satisfaction. The association between self-coldness and life satisfaction was also partially mediated by acceptance concerns. Self-coldness also moderated the associations of internalized homonegativity and acceptance concerns with life satisfaction, such that internalized homonegativity and acceptance concerns were only negatively associated with life satisfaction when self-coldness was high.

Conclusions

Our study shows that supporting LGB people in dialectical cultures to cultivate self-compassion may involve separate processes: acknowledging the survival functions of self-coldness while fostering self-warmth.

Preregistration

This study is not pre-registered.

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Data Availability

Data used in this study are part of an ongoing longitudinal research project. The data set is currently being analyzed and is not publicly available at this time.

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Acknowledgements

We appreciated Han Chen for her administrative support during the manuscript preparation.

Funding

The writing of this manuscript was supported by the Seed Fund for Basic Research awarded from The University of Hong Kong to ESKC (Principal Investigator), project number 202107185039.

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Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Contributions

All authors contributed to the study conception and design, reviewed and edited the manuscript. ESKC led the writing of the original draft. RCHC conducted data analysis and wrote the Method and Results sections of the original draft.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Eddie S. K. Chong.

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Ethics Approval

This article does not involve human or animal participants. Secondary analysis of existing data was approved by the Human Research Ethics Committee of the Education University of Hong Kong.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare no competing interests.

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Chong, E.S.K., Chan, R.C.H. The Role of Self-Compassion in Minority Stress Processes and Life Satisfaction among Sexual Minorities in Hong Kong. Mindfulness 14, 784–796 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-023-02106-7

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-023-02106-7

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