Mechanisms of change in the relationship between self-compassion, emotion regulation, and mental health: A systematic review

Journal article


Inwood, Elisa Anne and Ferrari, Madeleine. (2018). Mechanisms of change in the relationship between self-compassion, emotion regulation, and mental health: A systematic review. Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being. 10(2), pp. 215 - 235. https://doi.org/10.1111/aphw.12127
AuthorsInwood, Elisa Anne and Ferrari, Madeleine
Abstract

Background: Research suggests that self‐compassion may improve mental health by promoting emotion regulation (Berking & Whitley, 2014). This review aimed to identify studies which investigated the relationship between self‐compassion, emotion regulation, and mental health in order to examine the role of emotional regulation as a mechanism of change. Methods: Searches were conducted in PsycINFO, CINAHL, Medline complete, Web of Science and Scopus databases. Inclusion criteria required publications to be: peer reviewed, published in English, contain validated measures of self‐compassion and emotion regulation, and report a direct analysis on the relationship between these constructs. Results: The search yielded five studies which met inclusion criteria. Emotion regulation significantly mediated the relationship between self‐compassion and mental health. This pattern was consistent across community and clinical samples, for a range of mental health symptoms including stress, depression, and post‐traumatic stress disorder. A critical limitation of the review was that all included studies used cross‐sectional data, limiting interpretations regarding causation. Conclusions: Results provide preliminary evidence that emotion regulation may be a mechanism of change in the relationship between self‐compassion and mental health. Self‐compassion may be a pertinent preliminary treatment target for individuals who avoid experiences of emotions.

Keywordsemotion regulation; mental health; self-compassion; systematic review
Year2018
JournalApplied Psychology: Health and Well-Being
Journal citation10 (2), pp. 215 - 235
PublisherWiley-Blackwell
ISSN1758-0846
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1111/aphw.12127
Scopus EID2-s2.0-85049512650
Page range215 - 235
Publisher's version
File Access Level
Controlled
Place of publicationUnited Kingdom
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