Self-compassion and PTSD symptom severity

Brian L. Thompson, Jennifer Waltz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

142 Scopus citations


Neff's (2003a, 2003b) notion of self-compassion emphasizes kindness towards one's self, a feeling of connectedness with others, and mindful awareness of distressing experiences. Because exposure to trauma and subsequent posttraumatic stress symptoms (PSS) may be associated with self-criticism and avoidance of internal experiences, the authors examined the relationship between self-compassion and PSS. Out of a sample of 210 university students, 100 endorsed experiencing a Criterion A trauma. Avoidance symptoms significantly correlated with self-compassion, but reexperiencing and hyperarousal did not. Individuals high in self-compassion may engage in less avoidance strategies following trauma exposure, allowing for a natural exposure process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)556-558
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Traumatic Stress
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2008


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