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Self-compassion Improves Parental Well-being in Response to Challenging Parenting Events

Sirois, Fuschia M.; Bögels, Susan; Emerson, Lisa-Marie


Susan Bögels

Lisa-Marie Emerson


Shame and guilt are common during the course of parenting and can reflect feelings of “bad self “and “bad behaviour” in relation to parenting events. Self-compassion is known to be beneficial for well-being by reducing negative emotions, yet there is little research examining whether self-compassion might reduce parental guilt and shame. The current study examined the effects of dispositional and induced self-compassion on guilt and shame in a sample of 167 parents (Mage = 37.23, SD = 6.73, 83.1% female) of children ≤12 years recruited online. After completing baseline measures, parents were randomly assigned to recall a guilt versus shame provoking parenting event, and randomly allocated to either a self-compassion prompt versus a control condition. Analyses confirmed that those who received the self-compassion prompt reported higher levels of self-compassion, and reduced feelings of guilt and shame compared to the control group. Effects did not differ as a function of the guilt versus shame instructions. Multivariate analyses revealed that, when controlling for dispositional self-compassion, and baseline guilt and shame, differences between conditions were maintained for post-manipulation guilt and shame. Findings extend our understanding of the role of self-compassion for improving well-being when dealing with the challenges of parenting.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 6, 2018
Online Publication Date Oct 30, 2017
Publication Date 2018
Deposit Date Jul 4, 2022
Journal The Journal of Psychology
Print ISSN 0022-3980
Electronic ISSN 1940-1019
Publisher Taylor and Francis Group
Volume 153
Issue 3
Public URL