Year of Publication

2013

Season of Publication

Summer

Paper Type

Master's Thesis

College

College of Arts and Sciences

Degree Name

Master of Arts in General Psychology (MAGP)

Department

Psychology

NACO controlled Corporate Body

University of North Florida. Department of Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Ashley Batts Allen

Second Advisor

Dr. Christopher Leone

Department Chair

Dr. Michael Toglia

College Dean

Dr. Barbara A. Hetrick

Abstract

Self-compassion is a characteristic composed of self-kindness, common humanity, and mindfulness that promotes adaptive cognitive, behavioral, and emotional processing. A self-compassionate mindset in the face of difficulties can lead to less anxiety and more self-forgiveness, and because of these benefits, some evidence suggests self-compassionate individuals tend to persist longer on a task after an initial failure. This study focuses on the extent to which self-compassion can improve task performance and persistence under pressure. Participants first completed the Self-Compassion Scale (Neff, 2003a) to measure trait levels of self-compassion. Self-compassion was then induced by leading participants to think about a mistake in terms of the components of self-compassion. Pressure was manipulated by stating that task performance on a series of logic problems was indicative of intelligence. Multiple regressions were conducted to explore the potential effects of both trait and induced self-compassion, as well as task pressure, as predictors of objective and subjective measures of performance and persistence. Analyses revealed that for controls, performance and persistence were highly contingent on pressure, while self-compassionately primed individuals tended to perform and persist more consistently across pressure scenarios. Additionally, self-compassionate individuals were more accurate with regard to subjective ratings of their objective performances. The realistic self-appraisals that self-compassionate individuals harbor offer a potential explanation for these unusual findings. Furthermore, it is recommended that future research focus on the connections between self-compassion and self-esteem during task performance, as well as strengthening the pressure and self-compassion manipulations.

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