Self-compassionate reactions to health threats.
Four studies investigated the relationship between self-compassion, health behaviors, and reactions to illness. Participants completed measures of self-compassion, health-related thoughts and feelings, reactions to actual and hypothetical illnesses, and self-regulation. Study 1 revealed that self-compassion was related to health-related cognitions and affect for healthy and unhealthy participants. In Study 2, self-compassion predicted participants' reactions to actual illnesses beyond the influence of illness severity and other predictors of health behaviors. Self-compassionate people also indicated they would seek medical attention sooner when experiencing symptoms than people lower in self-compassion. Study 3 demonstrated that self-compassion is related to health-promoting behaviors even after accounting for self-regulatory capabilities and illness cognitions. Study 4 revealed that the relationship between self-compassion and health reactions is partially explained by a proactive approach to health, benevolent self-talk, and a motivation toward self-kindness. Overall, these studies demonstrate that self-compassion has important implications for health-promoting behaviors and reactions to illness.
Terry, ML; Leary, MR; Mehta, S; Henderson, K
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