Does belief predict efficacy of a self-compassion induction?
Conway, Tara Leigh
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Self-compassion has consistently been found to contribute significantly to psychological well-being, and previous research has found that it can be increased using a simple writing task. As the mechanism underlying task efficacy is unknown, this study investigated the role of belief. Belief was found to predict change in self-compassion, self-esteem, and depression, with higher levels being associated with less improvement, an effect in the opposite direction as hypothesized. However, increase in belief across the three trials was positively correlated with improvement in self-compassion, depression, anxiety, and stress, indicating that change in belief represents a different psychological effect than absolute level of belief. Further, those who increased in belief reported improvement in well-being, while those who decreased did not. Results suggest that task efficacy, at least in part, depends on the degree to which perspectives are reappraised to become more congruent with self-compassionate perspectives, as opposed to simply depending on task repetition.