Sleep disturbance mediates the link between both self-compassion and self-criticism and psychological distress during prolonged periods of stress

Journal article


Norton, David W., Modesto, Oscar, Bennett, Joanne M. and Fraser, Madeleine I.. (2023). Sleep disturbance mediates the link between both self-compassion and self-criticism and psychological distress during prolonged periods of stress. Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being. pp. 1-19. https://doi.org/10.1111/aphw.12474
AuthorsNorton, David W., Modesto, Oscar, Bennett, Joanne M. and Fraser, Madeleine I.
Abstract

Poor sleep and subsequent decline in mental health often occur during times of prolonged stress, such as a pandemic. Self-compassion is linked with improved sleep and better mental health, while self-criticism is linked with poorer sleep and psychological distress. Given there is little evidence of the interrelationships of these constructs, we examined whether higher self-compassion or lower levels of self-criticism can reduce psychological distress directly and indirectly via sleep during times of prolonged stress. Structural equation modelling was used to analyse two samples (N = 722, Study 1, and N = 622, Replication Study) of university students during different stages of the pandemic. An aggregate psychological distress construct was calculated using depression, anxiety and stress measures. We created models that showed insomnia symptoms mediated the relationship between self-compassion/self-criticism and psychological distress. Sleep partially mediated both relationships, and this was the strongest effect in both samples. This suggests that improving self-compassion and reducing self-criticism will improve sleep, leading to reduced psychological distress. As our findings are robust and held at two time points, future research should investigate broader demographics and differing stress responses.

Keywordsinsomnia; psychological distress; self-compassion; self-criticism; wellbeing
Year2023
JournalApplied Psychology: Health and Well-Being
Journal citationpp. 1-19
PublisherJohn Wiley & Sons Ltd
ISSN1758-0854
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1111/aphw.12474
PubMed ID37501499
Scopus EID2-s2.0-85165913057
Open accessPublished as ‘gold’ (paid) open access
Page range1-19
Publisher's version
License
File Access Level
Open
Output statusIn press
Publication dates
Online27 Jul 2023
Publication process dates
Accepted10 Jul 2023
Deposited05 Sep 2023
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