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Title: Exploring seven to eleven year old children's perspectives of self-talk and their experience of an intervention encouraging self-talk that is self-compassionate
Author: Withers, Joanne
ISNI:       0000 0004 5372 8927
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2015
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Paper One: An opportunity sample from three primary schools participated, split between two age categories with 37 children from year groups three and four (mean age of 8 years) and 48 from year groups five and six (mean age of 9 years 11 months). Children’s perspectives of self-talk were explored through focus groups that were transcribed and then studied through thematic analysis (Braun & Clarke, 2006). Additional quantitative data was generated from the children’s self-reported experiences of self-talk, which they also rated along constructs relating to positivity. A sample of the children’s self-talk statements that were judged to be self-evaluative, were additionally rated by an opportunity sample of four adult participants to allow a comparison between adult and child perspectives. In line with previous research, themes arose concerning children’s perspectives of the role of self-talk in enabling them to negotiate cognitive and social situations. New themes arose including the children’s concerns about the privacy of their thoughts and the prominence of self-evaluative forms of self-talk. More similarities than differences were found between the two age ranges and there was considerable overlap between adult and child ratings of the evaluative self-talk statements. The implications of these findings and suggestions for future research are discussed, including links to Paper Two of this study. Paper Two: This is a feasibility study. An opportunity sample of 79 children, aged between seven and eleven years old (mean age of 9 years 7 months), took part in a series of six group intervention sessions run by the researcher. These aimed to encourage self-talk that is self-compassionate, using elements of compassion focused approaches (Gilbert, 2009). A mixed methods design led to analysis of qualitative data from post-intervention group interviews using thematic analysis (Braun & Clarke, 2006). Quantitative data comprised the children’s pre-intervention and post-intervention responses to three questionnaires seeking to explore wellbeing, behaviour and self-compassion. Several key themes were identified, including the children’s ability to engage with the concepts of self-talk, self-kindness and the three system model of emotions (Gilbert, 2009). The concept of self-compassion itself was found to have some aspects that were harder for the children to comprehend. There were no significant differences between the children’s responses on the pre-intervention and post-intervention questionnaires, however, there were interesting qualitative responses concerning the use of these. The implications of these findings will be discussed with consideration to current educational psychologist practice and the need for future research.
Supervisor: Maxwell, Tim Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Ed.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: self-talk ; self-compassion ; child ; compassion ; focused approaches