Self-compassion and PTSD symptom severity

J Trauma Stress. 2008 Dec;21(6):556-8. doi: 10.1002/jts.20374.


Neff's (2003a, 2003b) notion of self-compassion emphasizes kindness towards one's self, a feeling of connectedness with others, and mindful awareness of distressing experiences. Because exposure to trauma and subsequent posttraumatic stress symptoms (PSS) may be associated with self-criticism and avoidance of internal experiences, the authors examined the relationship between self-compassion and PSS. Out of a sample of 210 university students, 100 endorsed experiencing a Criterion A trauma. Avoidance symptoms significantly correlated with self-compassion, but reexperiencing and hyperarousal did not. Individuals high in self-compassion may engage in less avoidance strategies following trauma exposure, allowing for a natural exposure process.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Empathy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Self Concept*
  • Severity of Illness Index*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / physiopathology
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult