Obstacles to social safeness in women with chronic pain: The role of fears of compassion

  • Sérgio A. CarvalhoEmail author
  • José Pinto-Gouveia
  • David Gillanders
  • Paula Castilho


The current study examines the mediating role of fears of compassion (for others, from others, for self) between self-compassion and social safeness in a sample of Portuguese women with chronic pain (CP). The recruitment (N = 107) was conducted online and participants responded to a set of self-report questionnaires aimed to assess socio-demographic and medical data, as well as self-compassion, fears of compassion, social safeness, pain intensity, pain-related functional impairment and depressive symptoms. A theory-driven mediational model was built in which fears of compassion mediate the relationship between self-compassion and social safeness, while controlling for pain intensity, functional impairment and depressive symptoms. This was tested using the SPSS macro PROCESS. Results suggest that the relationship between self-compassion and social safeness was mediated by fears of receiving compassion from others, but not by fears of giving compassion to others nor fears of self-compassion. These results yield relevant information to better understand how women with CP experience social safeness and connectedness, with promising clinical implications.


Chronic pain Self-compassion Fears of compassion Social safeness 



The authors would like to thank all participants and institutions who accepted to collaborate.

Funding Information

Research by the first author is supported by a Ph.D. Grant (SFRH/BD/112833/2015), sponsored by FCT (Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Ethical Approval

All procedures followed the ethical standards of the institutions and national research committees, as well as the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

All participants provided informed consent.

Conflict of Interest

The authors state no conflict of interest.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cognitive-Behavioural Research Centre (CINEICC), Faculty of Psychology and Educational SciencesUniversity of CoimbraCoimbraPortugal
  2. 2.School of Health in Social SciencesUniversity of EdinburghEdinburghUK

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