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Gerontologist. 2014 Apr;54(2):190-200. doi: 10.1093/geront/gns204. Epub 2013 Feb 7.

Self-compassionate responses to aging.

Author information

1
Address correspondence to Ashley Batts Allen, Psychology Department, 1 UNF Dr. 51/3404, Jacksonville, FL 32224. E-mail: a.allen@unf.edu.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

Evidence suggests that self-compassion may be beneficial to older adults who are struggling to cope with the aging process. The purpose of this study was to assess the thoughts of self-compassionate older adults and to determine whether self-compassionate thoughts relate to positive responses to aging.

DESIGN AND METHODS:

Participants (n = 121, M = 76.2 years, approximately 65% female) completed measures of self-compassion and self-esteem; were randomly assigned to write about a positive, negative, or neutral age-related event; and completed questions about the event and their reactions. Responses were coded for self-compassionate themes and emotional tone.

RESULTS:

Analyses indicated that self-compassion predicted positive responses to aging and that self-compassionate thoughts explained the relationship between trait self-compassion and emotional tone as well as the belief that one's attitude helped them cope with age-related events.

IMPLICATIONS:

Although older adults who were low versus high in self-compassion experienced similar age-related events, participants high in self-compassion thought about these events in ways that predicted positive outcomes. Encouraging older adults to be more self-compassionate may improve well-being in old age.

KEYWORDS:

Aging; Coping; Self-compassion; Self-esteem

PMID:
23392644
PMCID:
PMC3954413
DOI:
10.1093/geront/gns204
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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