Understanding the roles of self-esteem, self-compassion, and fear of self-compassion in eating disorder pathology: an examination of female students and eating disorder patients

Allison C Kelly, Kiruthiha Vimalakanthan, Jacqueline C Carter
Eating Behaviors 2014, 15 (3): 388-91
The present study examined the relative contributions of self-compassion, fear of self-compassion, and self-esteem in eating disorder pathology. One-hundred and fifty-five female undergraduate students and 97 females entering eating disorder treatment completed the Self-Compassion Scale, Fears of Compassion Scale, Rosenberg Self-Esteem Inventory, and Eating Disorder Examination Questionnaire. T-tests revealed that the patient group had lower mean self-compassion and higher mean fear of self-compassion than the student group. When controlling for self-esteem, high fear of self-compassion emerged as the strongest predictor of eating disorder pathology in the patient group, whereas low self-compassion was the strongest predictor in the student group. These preliminary results suggest that targeting fear of self-compassion may be important when intervening with individuals suffering from an eating disorder, whereas building self-compassion may be a valuable approach for eating disorder prevention.

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