Self-compassion induction enhances recovery from social stressors: Comparing adults with social anxiety disorder and healthy controls

Joanna J. Arch, Lauren N. Landy, Rebecca L. Schneider, Leonie Koban, Jessica R. Andrews-Hanna

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Background and objectives: This study evaluates the process and consequence of inducing self-compassion during recovery from social performance stressors. Though interest in self-compassion as an intervention target is growing, extant findings suggest that initially cultivating self-compassion can be challenging for those with high self-criticism and anxiety, common features of social anxiety disorder (SAD). Design: Quasi-experimental design. Methods: The current study evaluates the feasibility, content, and outcomes of a brief written self-compassion induction administered after consecutive laboratory social stressors, among adults with SAD (n = 21) relative to healthy controls (HC; n = 35). Results: Findings demonstrate the feasibility of employing a written self-compassion induction among adults with (and without) SAD, reveal group differences in written responses to the induction, and suggest that the SAD group benefitted more from the induction than the HC group, based on greater reductions in state anxiety and greater increases in self-compassion during stressor recovery. Greater use of negative affect words within written responses to the self-compassion induction, but not during general writing, predicted lower subsequent state anxiety across groups, by a medium effect size. Conclusions: Collectively, the findings support the feasibility and utility of cultivating self-compassion among adults with SAD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)594-609
Number of pages16
JournalAnxiety, Stress and Coping
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 3 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Self-compassion
  • compassion
  • social anxiety disorder
  • stress
  • stress recovery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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