Self-compassion as a predictor of interleukin-6 response to acute psychosocial stress

Brain Behav Immun. 2014 Mar;37:109-14. doi: 10.1016/j.bbi.2013.11.006. Epub 2013 Nov 14.


We examined the hypothesis that self-compassion is associated with lower levels of stress-induced inflammation. On two consecutive days, plasma concentrations of interleukin-6 (IL-6) were assessed at baseline and at 30 and 120 min following exposure to a standardized laboratory stressor in a sample of 41 healthy young adults. Participants who were higher in self-compassion exhibited significantly lower day 1 IL-6 responses, even when controlling for self-esteem, depressive symptoms, demographic factors, and distress. Self-compassion was not related to day 2 IL-6 response but was inversely related to day 2 baseline IL-6 levels, and to increase in baseline IL-6 from day 1 to day 2. These findings suggest that self-compassion may serve as a protective factor against stress-induced inflammation and inflammation-related disease.

Keywords: Acute psychosocial stress; Inflammation; Interleukin-6; Self-compassion; Self-esteem.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Empathy / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-6 / blood*
  • Male
  • Self Concept*
  • Stress, Psychological / blood*
  • Young Adult


  • Interleukin-6