Self-Compassion in Overcontrolled, Undercontrolled, and Resilient Personality Types



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The psychological benefits of self-compassion, a construct associated with adaptively dealing with emotional suffering from life's problems appear to overlap with those of trait resiliency in terms of theoretical underpinnings and outcome research. This study investigated the relationship between self-compassion, personality, and gender in order to shed light on the construct's relevance to an existing framework of resiliency personality research. One hundred and twenty-three college students completed the Big Five Inventory (BFI) and Self-compassion Scale (SCS). A cluster-analysis of the BFI scores yielded three cluster prototypes consistent with overcontrolled, undercontrolled, and resilient personality prototypes identified in previous studies of children and adult community samples.

Analyses revealed resilient individuals reported significantly higher overall Self-compassion (M = 3.08, SD = .25) compared to both overcontrolled (M = 2.85, SD = .20, t = -4.32, p <= .00) and undercontrolled types (M = 2.90, SD = .25, t = 3.53, p <= .00). Interestingly, there were no significant differences between overcontrolled and undercontrolled types or between men and women, on overall Self-compassion. A two by three MANOVA of gender and personality prototype on the SCS revealed a significant interaction on overall Self-compassion score (F = 3.92, p <= .02) and the Common Humanity subscale (F = 3.81, p <= .03). Post hoc analyses were conducted to examine the nature of the gender and personality interactions. The theoretical issues raised by these results are discussed and recommendations are made for utilizing self-compassion in treatment and future research.