Self-Compassion as a prospective predictor of PTSD symptom severity among trauma-exposed U.S. Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans.
U.S. combat veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars have elevated rates of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) compared to the general population. Self-compassion, characterized by self-kindness, a sense of common humanity when faced with suffering, and mindful awareness of suffering, is a potentially modifiable factor implicated in the development and maintenance of PTSD. We examined the concurrent and prospective relationship between self-compassion and PTSD symptom severity after accounting for level of combat exposure and baseline PTSD severity in 115 Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans exposed to 1 or more traumatic events during deployment. PTSD symptoms were assessed using the Clinician Administered PTSD Scale for DSM-IV (CAPS-IV) at baseline and 12 months (n =101). Self-compassion and combat exposure were assessed at baseline via self-report. Self-compassion was associated with baseline PTSD symptoms after accounting for combat exposure (β = -.59; p < .001; ΔR(2) = .34; f(2) = .67; large effect) and predicted 12-month PTSD symptom severity after accounting for combat exposure and baseline PTSD severity (β = -.24; p = .008; ΔR(2) = .03; f(2) = .08; small effect). Findings suggest that interventions that increase self-compassion may be beneficial for treating chronic PTSD symptoms among some Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans.
Hiraoka, R; Meyer, EC; Kimbrel, NA; DeBeer, BB; Gulliver, SB; Morissette, SB
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