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Using social cognition models to understand why people, such as perfectionists, struggle to respond with self‐compassion

Biskas, Marios; Sirois, Fuschia M.; Webb, Thomas L.


Marios Biskas

Thomas L. Webb


Responding with self-compassion to lapses in goal pursuit helps people to achieve their goals, yet evidence suggests that some people struggle to respond with self-compassion. The current research proposes that social cognition models such the Theory of Planned Behaviour and the Prototype Willingness Model could explain why some people, such as those high in perfectionistic concerns, struggle to respond with self-compassion. We therefore conducted a pre-registered prospective study that measured participants’ beliefs about self-compassion, difficulties enacting self-compassionate responding, perfectionistic concerns, and then tested their ability to be self-compassionate in response to a recalled and future lapse. The results showed that participants were less likely to respond with self-compassion to lapses if they held negative beliefs about self-compassion and experienced difficulties enacting self-compassion. Participants high in perfectionistic concerns were more likely to have negative beliefs about self-compassion and experience difficulties enacting self-compassion. Together, these findings provide evidence that social cognition models can be used to understand self-compassionate responding and identify why some people struggle to respond with self-compassion to goal lapses.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 28, 2022
Online Publication Date Mar 9, 2022
Publication Date 2022
Deposit Date Jul 4, 2022
Journal British Journal of Social Psychology
Print ISSN 0144-6665
Electronic ISSN 2044-8309
Publisher Wiley
Volume 61
Issue 4
Pages 1160-1182
Public URL
Additional Information This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (