The LOVE Shield
Unfortunately, we’ve all passed through the most gruesome years of our lives: our teenage years. These years will mainly be remembered by acne, braces, break-ups, school cliques and cringing texts to our crushes. Psychologically speaking though, these years yield some of the most important developmental markers that have the potential to affect our self-compassionate behaviors throughout adulthood.
During developmental years, parents clap when their child does something positive and teachers give students stickers when they perform well on their tests. These are micro-actions that enhance children’s ability to be self-compassionate. Researchers Neff & McGee aimed to unveil how self-compassion can create resilience in adolescents. They gathered 235 adolescents (Mean age: 15.2) and 287 young adults (Mean age: 21.1) where both groups were given the Self-Compassion Scale (SCS) that measured six realms of self-compassion.
To deduce the factors that can predict (and hence strongly influence) SCS scores, a well-being score was also calculated depending on the participants’ level of depression, anxiety, connectedness, family functioning, maternal support, and attachment style. Maternal support and family functioning were most significant in predicting well-being in both groups.
They also found that in addition to the predictive variables, SCS scores were able to explain more variance for well-being scores. Added explained variance suggests that self-compassion can mediate the negative effects of dysfunctionality in the mentioned predictive variables. These positive effects can be extremely beneficial as increasing self-compassionate behaviors in adolescence can be of clinical relevance by mediating the potential development of psychopathologies.
- Neff K.D., Hseih Y., Dejitthirat K. Self-compassion, achievement goals, and coping with academic failure. Self and Identity. 2005;4:263–287. [Google Scholar]
- Neff, K.D., & McGehee, P. (in press). Self-compassion and psychological resilience among adolescents and young adults. Self and identity.