Forgive and Let Go: Effect of Self-Compassion on Post-Event Processing in Social Anxiety
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Post-event processing refers to negative and repetitive thinking following socially anxious situations and has been posited as a maintaining factor in social anxiety. One strategy for reducing post-event processing may be through self-compassion, which was the primary purpose of the present study. An additional aim was to examine the effect of self-compassion on willingness to engage in future social scenarios. Socially anxious undergraduates (N = 98) provided an impromptu speech and were randomly assigned to a self-compassion, rumination, or control condition. Participants completed measures of post-event processing and willingness to engage in social situations the following day. As expected, self-compassion immediately following a speech led to less post-event processing the next day, as well as greater willingness to engage in future social situations. There was also support for a mediation model illustrating the mechanisms through which self-compassion exerted its effects on these two outcomes. Taken together, these findings demonstrate the utility of self-compassion on reducing the negative and repetitive thinking that serves to maintain social anxiety and increasing willingness to partake in future social events.
KeywordsSelf-compassion Social anxiety Post-event processing Rumination Performance perceptions
This work was supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) in the form of a doctoral fellowship to the first author and by the Ministry of Research and Innovation (ER09-06-227; second author).
RAB collaborated with the design and writing of the manuscript, executed the study, and conducted the data analyses. NLK collaborated with the design and writing of the study and edited the final manuscript.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the research ethics board of Wilfrid Laurier University and/or the national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in this study.
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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