Above and beyond emotional suffering: The unique contribution of compassionate and uncompassionate self-responding in chronic pain

Sérgio A Carvalho, Jose Pinto-Gouveia, David Gillanders, Teresa Lapa, Ana Valentim, Elsa Santos, Juliana Paciência, Paula Castilho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Studies have shown that self-compassion plays a protective role against depression in women with chronic pain (CP). However, the majority of studies in CP have used the total score of the self-compassion scale (SCS), which have raised concerns due to potential overlap, not only between the uncompassionate self-responding factors and psychopathology, but also between self-compassion as a whole and other well-known psychological processes (e.g., mindfulness, acceptance, psychological flexibility). This calls for a more nuanced understanding of which components of (un)compassionate self-responding adds to better mental health in CP. This study explores the unique contribution of compassionate and uncompassionate self-responding to depressive symptoms in women with CP undergoing pain consultation (N=49). Correlation analyses suggest that compassionate self-responding only significantly correlates with progress in valued living, while the uncompassionate self-responding significantly correlates with pain fusion, pain avoidance, obstructions to valued living and depression. Multiple regression analysis showed that self-compassion contributes to depressive symptoms (R2=8%) above and beyond pain intensity and disability (R2=12%) and psychological (in)flexibility processes (R2=31%), and uncompassionate (but not compassionate) self-responding uniquely contributes to depressive symptoms (sr2=18%). Findings suggest that uncompassionate self-responding is a stronger contributor to depressin in CP than compassionate self-responding. Clinical implications are further discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)853-857
JournalScandinavian Journal of Pain
Volume20
Issue number4
Early online date25 Aug 2020
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 Aug 2020

Keywords

  • chronic pain
  • pain disability
  • depression
  • self-compassion
  • psychological inflexibility

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