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Title: Self-compassion and the pursuit of personal goals
Author: Parry, Elizabeth
ISNI:       0000 0004 6353 0834
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2017
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Setting and monitoring progress on personal goals has potential advantages for helping people achieve their goals. However, it may also have disadvantages for both goal progress and personal well-being if people start to focus on progress and external outcomes (e.g. academic grades) more than internal processes (e.g. interest in the subject). Self-compassion has been suggested as a trait that may help people cope with set-backs, maintain intrinsic motivation and achieve their goals. It may therefore be particularly helpful in overcoming some of the disadvantages of setting and monitoring personal goals. Self-compassion has previously been theoretically differentiated from self-esteem, with self-esteem seen as more contingent on positive self-judgements and success, suggesting that self-compassion may have additional benefits for maintaining individuals’ intrinsic motivation. The aim of this study was therefore to test whether self-compassion exercises are more helpful than self-esteem exercises in the context of setting and monitoring goals. This was tested using a between group experimental design with two conditions: self-compassion and self-esteem. Ninety-four university students were randomly assigned to one of the conditions and followed a four-week goal setting and monitoring programme in relation to both an academic and social goal. The data showed that both inductions resulted in an increase in state self-compassion and self-esteem. There was no difference between the conditions in achievement of either goal over the four weeks. There was also no difference between conditions in the weekly association between poor progress and negative affect or change in goal commitment and autonomous motivation over the four weeks. However, the self-compassion condition was rated as more pleasant than the self-esteem condition. The results suggest that the self-compassion exercises used may be more acceptable than the self-esteem exercises used but they are not better than the self-esteem exercises for enhancing goal pursuit. The study suggests that further research is needed to distinguish the motivational effects of self-compassion and self-esteem.
Supervisor: Moberley, Nick ; Karl, Anke Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psych.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Self-compassion ; Motivation ; Goals ; Self-determination theory ; self-esteem