• Fears of compassion and happiness in relation to alexithymia, mindfulness, and self-criticism.

      Gilbert, Paul; McEwan, Kirsten; Gibbons, L.; Duarte, Joana; Matos, Marcela; Kingsway Hospital, Derby; University of Coimbra (British Psychological Society, 2011-11-08)
      Background. Thereisincreasingresearchtosuggestthatfearsof,andresistancesto, affiliativeandpositiveemotionsarelinkedtoself-criticismandarangeofpsychopathologies.Itisunclearhowthesefearsandresistancesarelinkedtoeachotherandhowthese inturnarelinkedtopsychologicalprocesses,suchasabilitiestobemindfulandrecognize and describe emotions. Objectives. Thisresearchexplorestherelationshipbetweenfearsofcompassionand happinessingeneral,withcapacitiesforemotionalprocessing(alexithymia),capacitiesfor mindfulness, and empathic abilities. Toadvance this research, a new scale was developed to measure general fears of positive feelings – the Fear of Happiness Scale. Results. The results showed that fears of compassion for self, from others and in particular fear of happiness, were highly linked to different aspects of alexithymia, mindfulness, empathy, self-criticism and depression, anxiety and stress. Especially noteworthy was the very high correlation between fear of happiness and depression (r =.70). Conclusion. While the development of positive emotions, especially those linked to affiliation and connectedness are increasingly seen as important therapeutic targets, little research has focused on the blocks and fears to positive emotions. This study used newly developed fears of positive affect scales (e.g., compassion and happiness) to explore these aspects and found they were significantly linked to psychopathology variables self-criticism and difficulties such as alexithymia.