The Relationship Between Self-Compassion and Well-Being: A Meta-Analysis

Appl Psychol Health Well Being. 2015 Nov;7(3):340-64. doi: 10.1111/aphw.12051. Epub 2015 Aug 26.


Background: Self-compassion describes a positive and caring attitude of a person toward her- or himself in the face of failures and individual shortcomings. As a result of this caring attitude, individuals high in self-compassion are assumed to experience higher individual well-being. The present meta-analysis examines the relationship between self-compassion and different forms of well-being.

Method: The authors combined k = 79 samples, with an overall sample size of N = 16,416, and analyzed the central tendencies of effect sizes (Pearson correlation coefficients) with a random-effect model.

Results: We found an overall magnitude of the relationship between self-compassion and well-being of r = .47. The relationship was stronger for cognitive and psychological well-being compared to affective well-being. Sample characteristics and self-esteem were tested as potential moderators. In addition, a subsample of studies indicated a causal effect of self-compassion on well-being.

Conclusions: The results clearly highlight the importance of self-compassion for individuals' well-being. Future research should further investigate the relationship between self-compassion and the different forms of well-being, and focus on the examination of possible additional moderators.

Keywords: happiness; meta-analysis; moderator; self-compassion; well-being.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adult
  • Emotions*
  • Female
  • Happiness
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Healing / psychology*
  • Personal Satisfaction
  • Self Concept*