Are improvements in shame and self-compassion early in eating disorders treatment associated with better patient outcomes?

Allison C Kelly, Jacqueline C Carter, Sahar Borairi
International Journal of Eating Disorders 2014, 47 (1): 54-64
Compassion-focused therapy (CFT; Gilbert, 2005, 2009) is a transdiagnostic treatment approach focused on building self-compassion and reducing shame. It is based on the theory that feelings of shame contribute to the maintenance of psychopathology, whereas self-compassion contributes to the alleviation of shame and psychopathology. We sought to test this theory in a transdiagnostic sample of eating disorder patients by examining whether larger improvements in shame and self-compassion early in treatment would facilitate faster eating disorder symptom remission over 12 weeks. Participants were 97 patients with an eating disorder admitted to specialized day hospital or inpatient treatment. They completed the Eating Disorder Examination-Questionnaire, Experiences of Shame Scale, and Self-Compassion Scale at intake, and again after weeks 3, 6, 9, and 12. Multilevel modeling revealed that patients who experienced greater decreases in their level of shame in the first 4 weeks of treatment had faster decreases in their eating disorder symptoms over 12 weeks of treatment. In addition, patients who had greater increases in their level of self-compassion early in treatment had faster decreases in their feelings of shame over 12 weeks, even when controlling for their early change in eating disorder symptoms. These results suggest that CFT theory may help to explain the maintenance of eating disorders. Clinically, findings suggest that intervening with shame early in treatment, perhaps by building patients' self-compassion, may promote better eating disorders treatment response.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"