The relationship between physicians' self-kindness and professional fulfillment and the mediating role of personal resilience and work-home interference: A cross-sectional study

PLoS One. 2023 Apr 24;18(4):e0284507. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0284507. eCollection 2023.


Background: Professional fulfillment is crucial for physicians' well-being and optimal patient care. Highly demanding work environments, perfectionism and self-critical attitudes jeopardize physicians' professional fulfillment.

Objective: To explore to what extent a kinder attitude towards the self, i.e. self-kindness, was associated with physicians' professional fulfillment and whether this relationship was mediated by personal resilience and work-home interference.

Methods: In 2020, cardiologists (n = 374) in the Netherlands participated in a web-based survey. Self-kindness was measured by the self-kindness subscale of the Self-Compassion Scale, personal resilience by the Brief Resilience Scale, work-home interference by the negative Work-Home Interference subscale of the Survey Work-Home Interaction-Nijmegen, and professional fulfillment by the corresponding subscale of the Professional Fulfillment Index. Using Hayes' SPSS macro PROCESS v3.5, the authors tested the parallel mediation model.

Results: Self-kindness was not directly associated with professional fulfillment (direct effect = .042, p = .36, 95% CI: -0.048, 0.132). Self-kindness was indirectly related to professional fulfillment through individual resilience (indirect effect = .049, 95% CI: .020, 0.086) and work-home interference (indirect effect = .057, 95% CI: .023, 096).

Conclusions: This study suggests that improving physicians' self-kindness may enhance professional fulfillment through personal resilience and work-home interference. Our findings may stimulate and remind physicians to be kind towards themselves as it may benefit them and their patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Attitude
  • Burnout, Professional*
  • Cardiologists*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Physicians*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires

Grants and funding

This research was initiated and partly funded by the Netherlands Society of Cardiology (NVVC -, award number N/A. Three of the authors (DK, RJ and JH) are related to the NVVC. They participated in designing the study, collecting and analysing the data, preparing the manuscript and agreed with the decision to publish the manuscript.