Impact of Self-Compassion on Existential Anxiety in Young Adults of Pakistan
Keywords:Existential Anxiety, Self-Compassion, Self-criticism, Isolation
It’s not much about the existential isolation but about our existential uniqueness, the feeling that no matter how deeply connected we are with someone, there is still an unbridgeable gap between every individual and all the elements of our perceived world which can’t be covered in any way possible. Young adulthood is an age where the self-creation process starts hence, the initiation of process of understanding life experiences, experimentation and exploration of meaning in life. All these processes comes with the consequences of overwhelming experiences of existential questioning, concern, and anxiety, leading to various other negative or positive psychological outcomes, depending upon the subjective experiences. Hence the current research was aimed to study the impact of self-compassion on existential anxiety in adolescents and young adults. The population consisted of both male and females (N=280). Current study is based on a quantitative correlation survey research design and the statistical analyses was done through SPSS (version 22). Neff’s Compassion Scale-Short Form (SCS-SF), and Existential anxiety questionnaire (EAQ) and Existential concern questionnaire (ECQ) scales were used. The statistical analysis involved Pearson product moment correlation, and Stepwise Regression. The finding of the study revealed that there was a significant weak negative relationship between Self-compassion and Existential Anxiety and a significant positive relationship between self-criticism and existential anxiety. Moreover, the isolation (subdomain of self-compassion) predicted 20.4% variance in level of Existential anxiety scale and 29.7% variance in Existential concern questionnaire. Following findings are significantly important regarding generating appropriate clinical interventions and provides beneficial insight into developing awareness programs on a community level.
. A. B. Allen and M. R Leary. “Self-Compassion, Stress and Coping.” Social and Personality Psychology Compass, vol. 4:2, pp. 107-118. 2010.
. J. J. Arch., K. W. Brown., D. J. Dean., L. N. Landy., K. D. Brown., and M. L. Laudenslager. “Self-compassion training modulates alpha-amylase, heart rate variability, and subjective responses to social evaluative threat in women.” Psychoneuroendocrinology, vol. 42, pp. 49-58. 2014.
. S. L. Berman., C. F. Weems and T. R. Stickle (2006). “Existential Anxiety in Adolescents: Prevalence, Structure, Association with Psychological Symptoms and Identity Development.” Journal of Youth and Adolescence, vol. 35, pp. 285-292. 2006.
. W. Breitbart. “Existential isolation.” Palliative & supportive care, vol 15(4), pp. 403-404. 2017.
. V. Bruggen., P. T. Klooster., G. Westerhof., J. Vos., D. Kleine., E. Bohlmeijer and G. Glas. “The existential concerns questionnaire (ECQ)-development and initial validation of a new existential anxiety scale in a nonclinical and clinical sample”. Journal of Clinical Psychology, pp. 1–12. 2017.
. J. Carter., S. L. Berman., M. A. Marsee and C. F. Weems. “Identity Exploration, Commitment, and Existential Anxiety as Predictors of the Forms and Functions of Aggression.” An International Journal of Theory and Research, vol. 13:4, pp. 348-367. 2013.
. Coplan et al. “The relationship between intelligence and anxiety: An association with subcortical white matter metabolism.” Frontiers in Evolutionary Neuroscience, vol. 3(8), pp. 1-7. 2012.
. Diener, E. D., and Suh, M. E. “Subjective well-being and age: An international analysis” in Annual review of gerontology and geriatrics, 17(1). Schaie, K. W., & Lawton, M. P. (Eds.), 1997, pp. 304-324.
. E. Diener and K. Ryan. “Subjective Well-Being: A General Overview.” South African Journal of Psychology, vol. 39(4), pp. 391–406. 2009.
. P. Gilbert and C. Irons. (2005). “Focused therapies and compassionate mind training for shame and self-attacking.” in Compassion: Conceptualizations, Research and use in Psychotherapy. P. Gilbert, Ed. London, UK: Routledge 2005, pp. 263–325.
. C. Gill, L. Watson, C. Williams, and S. W, Chen. “Social anxiety and self- compassion in adolescents.” Journal of Adolescence, Vol. 69, pp. 163-174. 2018.
. L.H. Walker and K. Kolosimo. “Mindfulness, self-compassion, and happiness in non- meditators: A theoretical and empirical examination.” Personality and Individual differences, vol. 50(2), pp. 222-227.
. T. Jiang and Z. Chen. “Meaning in life accounts for the association between long-term ostracism and depressive symptoms: The moderating role of self-compassion.” The journal of social psychology, vol. 160, pp. 535-547. 2019.
. Koole, S. L. Koole, J. Greenberg and T. Pyszczynski. Introducing science to the psychology of the soul: Experimental existential psychology. Current Directions in Psychological Science, vol. 15(5), pp. 212-216. 2006.
. M. Kousha, H. A. Bagheri and A. Heydarzadeh. “Emotional intelligence and anxiety, stress, and depression in Iranian resident physicians”. Journal of family medicine and primary care, vol. 7(2), pp. 420–4. 2018.
. U. Kramer and G. Zimmermann. “Fear and Anxiety at the Basis of Adolescent Externalizing and Internalizing Behaviors: A Case Study”. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, vol. 53:1, pp. 113-120. 2009.
. MacBeth, A., and Gumley, A. “Exploring compassion: A meta-analysis of the association between self-compassion and psychopathology”. Clinical Psychology Review, 32(6), 545- 552. 2012
. E. Martz. “Death anxiety as a predictor of posttraumatic stress levels among individuals with spinal cord injuries.” Death Studies, vol. 28(1), pp. 1-17. 2004.
. K. Neff and K. Dahm. “Self-Compassion: what it is, what it does, and how it relates to mindfulness,” in Mindfulness and Self-Regulation, Ed. New York: Springer; 2015.
. K.D. Neff. “Self-compassion: An alternative conceptualization of a healthy attitude toward oneself.” Self and Identity, vol. 2, pp. 85-102. 2003.
. K.D. Neff. “The development and validation of a scale to measure self-compassion.” Self and identity, vol. 2(3), pp. 223-250. 2003.
. K. D. Neff and McGehee, P. McGehee. “Self-compassion and Psychological Resilience Among Adolescents and Young Adults.” Self and Identity, vol. 9:3, pp. 225-240. 2010.
. K. D. Neff, and R. Vonk. “Self-Compassion Versus Global Self-Esteem: Two Different Ways of Relating to Oneself.” Journal of Personality, vol. 77:1, pp. 23-50. 2009
. K.D. Neff, Y.P. Hsieh, and K. Dejitterat. “Self-compassion, achievement goals, and coping with academic failure.” Self and identity, vol 4(3), pp. 263-287. 2005.
. K.D. Neff, K.L. Kirkpatrick and S.S Rude. “Self-compassion and adaptive psychological functioning.” Journal of research in personality, vol. 41(1), pp. 139-154. 2007.
. K.D. Neff, S.S. Rude and K.L. Kirkpatrick. “An examination of self-compassion in relation to positive psychological functioning and personality traits.” Journal of Research in Personality, vol. 41:4, pp. 908-916. 2007.
. W.J. Phillips, and S.J. Ferguson. “Self-compassion: A resource for positive aging.” Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, vol. 68(4), pp. 529-539. 2013.
. E. Pollet and T. Schnel. “Brilliant: But what for? Meaning and subjective well-being in the lives of intellectually gifted and academically high-achieving adults.” Journal of happiness studies, vol. 18(5), pp. 1459-1484. 2017
. T. Pyszczynski, J. Greenberg and S. Solomon. “A dual-process model of defense against conscious and unconscious death-related thoughts: an extension of terror management theory.” Psychological review, vol. 106(4),pp. 835. 1999.
. B.G. Scott and C.F. Weems. “Natural Disasters and Existential Concerns: A Test of Tillich’s Theory of Existential Anxiety.” Journal of Humanistic Psychology, vol. 53:1, pp. 114-128. 2012.
. E. Smeets, K. Neff, H. Alberts and M. Peters. “Meeting suffering with kindness: Effects of a brief self‐compassion intervention for female college students.” Journal of clinical psychology, vol. 70(9), pp. 794-807. 2014.
. M.L. Terry and M.R. Leary. “Self-compassion, self-regulation, and health.” Self and Identity, vol. 10:3, pp. 352-362. 2011.
. P. Tillich. “The courage to be”, in New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. 1952.
. D. Ümmet, H. Ekşi, Y. Özkapu and F. Ekşi. “The existential concerns questionnaire (ECQ): A study of validity and reliability”. Research and Development on Social Sciences, pp. 423–429. 2018.
. B. Votter and T. Schnell. “Cross-lagged Analyses between Life Meaning, Self- compassion, and Subjective Well-being among Gifted Adults.” Mindfulness, vol. 10. 2019.
. C. F. Weems, N. M. Costa, C. Dehon and S.L Berman. “Paul Tillich’s Theory of Existential Anxiety: A Preliminary Conceptual and Empirical Examination.” An International Journal of Anxiety, Stress and Coping, vol. 17:4, pp. 383-399. 2004.
. I. D Yalom. “Existential psychotherapy”, Basic Books. 1980.
. L. M. Yarnell and K. D. Neff. “Self-compassion, Interpersonal Conflict Resolutions, and Well-being.” Self and Identity, vol. 12:2, pp. 146-159. 2011
. U. Zessin,, O. Dickhäuser., and S. Garbade. “The relationship between self‐compassion and well‐being: A meta‐analysis”. Applied Psychology: Health and Well‐Being, 7(3), 340-364. 2015
. H. Zhang., L. Dong., N.N.Watson-Singleton. et al. “Psychometric Properties of the Self- Compassion Scale (SCS) in an African American Clinical Sample”. Mindfulness, 10, 1395–1405. 2019
. M. E. Deniz, S. Kesici and A. S. Sümer. “The validity and reliability study of the Turkish version of self-compassion scale.” Social Behavior and Personality, vol. 36 (9), pp. 1151- 1160. 2008.
. K. D. Neff and C. Germer. “Self-Compassion and Psychological Wellbeing.” The oxford handbook of compassion science, pp. 371. 2017.
. T. Krieger, D. S. Martig, E. van den Brink and T. Berger. “Working on self-compassion online: A proof of concept and feasibility study.” Internet interventions, vol. 6, pp. 64-70. 2016.
. M. Buber. “I and Thou”. eBookIt. Com, 2012.
. T.Bowels and J.Scull. The Psychology of Isolation: https://pursuit.unimelb.edu.au/articles/the-psychology-of-isolation, 4 April, 2020.
. P. Gilbert., & C. Irons. Focused therapies and compassionate mind training for shame and self-attacking. (2005)
. P. Gilbert., & C. Irons. A pilot exploration of the use of compassionate images in a group of self‐critical people. Memory, 12(4), 507-516. (2004)
. S.J. Blatt., &D.C. Zuroff. Interpersonal relatedness and self-definition: Two prototypes for depression. Clinical Psychology Review, 12(5), 527-562. (1992)
. M. Mongrain., & D.C. Zuroff. Ambivalence over emotional expression and negative life events: Mediators of depressive symptoms in dependent and self-critical individuals. Personality and Individual Differences, 16(3), 447-458. (1994)
. L.S. Greenberg., R.K. Elliot., & F.S. Foerster. Experiential processes in the psychotherapeutic treatment of depression. (1990)
. K. Neff. Self-compassion: An alternative conceptualization of a healthy attitude toward oneself. Self and identity, 2(2), 85-101. (2003).
. B.J. Cox., N.A.Rector., R.M Bagby., R.P Swinson., A.J. Levitt., & R.T. Joffe. Is self-criticism unique for depression? A comparison with social phobia. Journal of affective disorders, 57(1-3), 223-228. (2000).
How to Cite
Authors who submit papers with this journal agree to the following terms.