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Title: Self-compassion, goal pursuit and well-being
Author: Sewter, E.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7969 5406
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2019
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This study explored associations between trait self-compassion, goal motives, goal progress and well-being (life satisfaction, positive affect and negative affect) in an undergraduate sample. Self-compassion has been associated with many indices of well-being. However, surprisingly little research has investigated the pathways through which self-compassion and well-being are connected. Exploring the process of goal pursuit could provide a viable way of understanding how self-compassion may translate to well-being, as goals are important for providing purpose and direction in life. Thus, this study examined how self-compassion might help students adjust to the challenges of starting university. It set out to test two proposed mediation models: i) whether intrinsic and identified motives and goal progress mediate self-compassion's relationship with change in life satisfaction and positive affect from the beginning to the end of the first term and ii) whether introjected and external motives mediate self-compassion's relationship with change in negative affect from the beginning to the end of the first term. First-year undergraduates completed self-report questionnaires online at the beginning, middle and end of their first term of university. Results indicated that higher levels of self-compassion were associated with higher levels of life satisfaction and positive affect and lower levels of negative affect at the beginning, middle and end of the first term. The study did not find support for prospective associations between self-compassion and changes in life satisfaction or positive affect. Self-compassion significantly predicted relative reductions in negative affect at the middle of term but was not significantly related to change in negative affect at the end of term. Self-compassion was negatively associated with introjected and external motives but no relationships were found between self-compassion and intrinsic and identified motives or goal progress. No support was found for the proposed mediation models. Conceptually, the non-significant findings suggest that self-compassion is more relevant to understanding negative experiences than to goal striving itself. Future research could investigate the negative association between self-compassion and introjected and external motives in more detail, with future experimental work determining whether self-compassionate manipulations could reduce people pursuing goals for controlled reasons.
Supervisor: Moberly, N. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Self-compassion ; Goal motives ; Goal progress ; Well-being