Year of Publication

2015

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. Lori Lange

Second Advisor

Dr. Ashley Batts Allen

Third Advisor

Dr. Jodi Grace

Department Chair

Dr. Micheal Toglia

College Dean

Dr. Barbara A. Hetrick

Abstract

Self-compassion is defined as the ability to treat oneself kindly following perceived failures and/or painful events; this construct is characterized by three components: self-kindness, common humanity and mindfulness (Neff, 2003). Although some people may naturally be more self-compassionate than others, previous self-compassion manipulations have shown that self-compassion is a mindset that can be taught. Several short-term self-compassion inductions have been published (Adams & Leary, 2007; Breines & Chen, 2012; Leary, Tate, Adams, Allen, & Hancock, 2007) showing that such inductions lead to more positive emotional and behavioral outcomes. The purpose of this research study was to determine whether a short self-compassion induction would impact people’s responses to an imagined sexual assault scenario. Female undergraduates (N = 141) were randomly assigned to a self-compassion condition or a control. All participants imagined a vivid sexual assault scenario and rated how they anticipated they would feel following the scenario (i., e emotion, less identity, fault, state self-compassion, formal and informal disclosure, and future behavioral intentions). Women who received the self-compassion induction experienced less negative effects following the scenario than participants in the control condition. Some of these effects (e.g., negative emotion, negative identity, formal and informal disclosure) were moderated by past sexual assault experiences showing that the self-compassion induction was more effective for women with no previous sexual assault experience. Comparing groups based on sexual assault history revealed the benefits of a short self-compassion induction may be limited to those with no previous experience. If applied to domestic violence programs, we recommend using a longer self-compassion intervention.

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