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How Self-Compassion Frees Individuals

By: Priscilla Gitimu  

The premise of the study is that increased self-compassion frees one to have more body appreciation and less appearance anxiety. Self-compassion is the ability to be kind to oneself in the midst of difficulties (Neff, 2003). The purpose of the study is to explore whether self-compassion influences one’s body appreciation and appearance anxiety. This study uses three scales, Self-Compassion Scale, Body Appreciation Scale, and Social Appearance Anxiety scale. Participants in the study were 125 students from one Midwestern university; 45.3% men and 53.1% women. Results indicated that the overall self-compassion mean was 37.82 out of a possible 60 points. Participants who scored higher than the mean were categorized as the ‘high self-compassion group’, while participants who scored lower than the mean were categorized as the ‘low self-compassion group’. ANOVA (Analysis of Variance) was conducted to compare the Body appreciation means between the high and low self-compassion groups. Results indicate that the high self-compassion group N=71 had significantly higher body appreciation means (mean =41.30) than the low self-compassion group N= 54, mean 34.41 In addition, ANOVA was conducted to compare the social appearance anxiety means between the high and low self-compassion groups. Results indicate that the high self-compassion group N=71 had significantly lower social appearance anxiety means (26.92) than the low self-compassion group N=54, mean 41.44 Self-compassion appears to be associated with body appreciation and appearance anxiety. Boosting self-compassion can free individuals to appreciate their body more - and decrease appearance anxiety.

self compassion, appearance
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Dr. Priscilla Gitimu

Merchandising Program, Human Ecology, Youngstown State University, United States
Ohio, United States

Dr. Priscilla Gitimu is an associate professor in the Human Ecology Department at Youngstown State University, in Youngstown, Ohio, USA. She enjoys doing research that enriches individuals and livelihoods. She believes that research is critical and should be part of a professor’s agenda. Her scholarly work includes several peer reviewed publications and presentations at local and international conferences. Sometimes her research has emanated from class projects, collaborative work with colleagues, or as a volunteer activity. Dr. Gitimu enjoys mentoring students in research, and some of her students’ work such as this paper has resulted in conference presentations and publications in peer reviewed journals.