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The Relation of Self-Compassion to Functioning among Adults with Chronic Pain


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Previous research has shown that self-compassion is associated with improved functioning and health outcomes among multiple chronic illnesses. However, the role of self-compassion in chronic pain-related functioning is understudied. The present study sought to understand the association between self-compassion and important measures of functioning within a sample of patients with chronic pain. Treatment-seeking individuals (N= 343 with chronic pain) that were mostly White (97.9%) and female (71%) completed a battery of assessments that included the Self-Compassion Scale (SCS), as well as measures of pain-related fear, depression, disability, pain acceptance, success in valued activity, and use of pain coping strategies. Cross-sectional multiple regression analyses that controlled for age, sex, pain intensity, and pain duration, revealed that self-compassion accounted for a significant and unique amount of variance in all measures of functioning (r2 range: .07 – .32, all p < .001). Beta weights indicated that higher self-compassion was associated with lower pain-related fear, depression, and disability, as well as greater pain acceptance, success in valued activities, and utilization of pain coping strategies. These findings suggest that self-compassion may be a relevant adaptive process in those with chronic pain. Targeted interventions to improve self-compassion in those with chronic pain may be useful.

Acceptance Date May 21, 2019
Publication Date May 21, 2019
Journal European Journal of Pain
Print ISSN 1090-3801
Publisher Wiley
Publisher URL


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