Fear of self-compassion and psychological inflexibility interact to predict PTSD symptom severity


Lynsey R. Miron, Andrew M. Sherrill & Holly K. Orcutt


Evidence suggests that increasing self-compassion is a worthwhile therapeutic target and may be adaptive in the context of trauma recovery. Recently, researchers have noted that particular individuals respond to self-compassion with fear and resistance, a phenomenon known as fear of self-compassion. We argue that fear of self-compassion may increase post-trauma suffering, particularly for individuals who routinely attempt to control private experiences. The present study investigated relations among fear of self-compassion, psychological inflexibility, and posttraumatic stress symptoms (PTSS) in a sample of trauma-exposed undergraduates (N = 201). Hierarchical regression analyses revealed a significant interaction between fear of self-compassion and psychological inflexibility (B = 1.22, p < .05), controlling for negative affect. Follow-up simple effects indicated that psychological inflexibility moderated the relationships between fear of self-compassion and PTS among participants with higher psychological inflexibility (B = 3.81, p  < .01), but not for those with lower psychological inflexibility. The prospect of fear of self-compassion as a contextual-behavioral treatment target is discussed.

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