• Ability to receive compassion from others buffers the depressogenic effect of self-criticism: A cross-cultural multi-study analysis

      Hermanto, Nicola; Zuroff, David C.; Kopala-Sibley, Daniel C.; Kelly, Allison C.; Matos, Marcela; Gilbert, Paul; Koestner, Richard; McGill University; University of Waterloo; University of Coimbra; et al. (Elsevier, 2016-04-29)
      Self-criticism has been shown to be a vulnerability factor that can lead to and maintain depression. We examined the moderating effect of fear of receiving compassion from others on the positive association between self-criticism and depression. Self-report measures were administered to four separate samples (total N = 701) varying in age (students and community adults) and cultural context (Canada, England, and Portugal). Two different measures of self-criticism and of depression were administered to investigate the generalizability of results. Self-criticism, depression, and fear of compassion from others were positively related to one another in all samples. As predicted, fear of compassion from others exerted a moderating effect on the relationship between self-criticism and depression. Low fear of compassion from others weakened the depressogenic effect of self-criticism, while high fear of compassion from others exacerbated the effect. Thus, a self-critic's ability to be open and responsive to care and support from others protected against depression. The aggregate moderating effect across the four studies was of medium size (d + = .53) and highly significant, indicating a robust phenomenon. Implications for working with self-critical depressed patients are discussed.
    • Compassion focused therapy with children and adolescents

      Carona, Carlos; Rijo, Daniel; Salvador, Céu; Castilho, Paula; Gilbert, Paul; University of Coimbra; University of Derby (Royal College of Psychiatrists, 2017-07-03)
      Compassion-focused therapy (CFT) is embedded in an evolutionary, functional analysis of psychopathology, with a focus on affiliative, caring and compassion processes. CFT has been applied in a number of adult settings, but its clinical applications in child and adolescent psychopathology and psychotherapy have not been systematically explored. This article describes the applications of CFT in paediatric populations. Specifically, the following developmental considerations are discussed: the unique importance of parent–child and attachment relationships for the development of self-compassion, being open to compassion from others and being compassionate to others; the potential effect of compassion training on the maturing brain (affective regulation systems); and the therapeutic targeting of shame and self-criticism to alleviate psychological distress and enhance the effectiveness of cognitive–behavioural interventions.
    • Compassion motivations: Distinguishing submissive compassion from genuine compassion and its association with shame, submissive behavior, depression, anxiety and stress

      Catarino, Francisca; Gilbert, Paul; McEwan, Kirsten; Baião, Rita; Derbyshire Healthcare Foundation Trust; University of Coimbra; University of Derby; University of Cardiff (Guildford Press, 2014-05)
      Abstract Recent research has suggested that being compassionate and helpful to others is linked to well-being. However, people can pursue compassionate motives for different reasons, one of which may be to be liked or valued. Evolutionary theory suggests this form of helping may be related to submissive appeasing behavior and therefore could be negatively associated with well-being. To explore this possibility we developed a new scale called the submissive compassion scale and compared it to other established submissive and shame-based scales, along with measures of depression, anxiety and stress in a group of 192 students. As predicted, a submissive form of compassion (being caring in order to be liked) was associated with submissive behavior, shame-based caring, ego-goals and depression, anxiety, and stress. In contrast, compassionate goals and compassion for others were not. As research on compassion develops, new ways of understanding the complex and mixed motivations that can lie behind compassion are required. The desire to be helpful, kind, and compassionate, when it arises from fears of rejection and desires for acceptance, needs to be explored.
    • Cultivating the compassionate self against depression: An exploration of processes of change.

      Matos, Marcela; Duarte, Joana; Duarte, Cristiana; Pinto-Gouveia, José; Gilbert, Paul; University of Coimbra; University of Derby (2017-04)
      Introduction Compassion and self-compassion can be protective factors against mental health difficulties, in particular depression. The cultivation of the compassionate self, associated with a range of practices such as slow and deeper breathing, compassionate voice tones and facial expressions, and compassionate focusing, is central to compassion focused therapy (Gilbert, 2010). However, no study has examined the processes of change that mediate the impact of compassionate self-cultivation practices on depressive symptoms. Aims The aim of this study is to investigate the impact of a brief compassionate self training (CST) intervention on depressive symptoms, and explore the psychological processes that mediate the change at post intervention. Methods Using a longitudinal design, participants (general population and college students) were randomly assigned to one of two conditions: Compassionate self training (n = 56) and wait-list control (n = 37). Participants in the CST condition were instructed to practice CST exercises for 15 minutes everyday or in moments of stress during two weeks. Self-report measures of depression, self-criticism, shame and compassion, were completed at pre and post in both conditions. Results Results showed that, at post-intervention, participants in the CST condition decreased depression, self-criticism and shame, and increased self-compassion and openness to receive compassion from others. Mediation analyses revealed that changes in depression from pre to post intervention were mediated by decreases in self-criticism and shame, and increases in self-compassion and openness to the compassion from others. Conclusions These findings support the efficacy of compassionate self training components on lessening depressive symptoms and promoting mental health.
    • The development of compassionate engagement and action scales for self and others

      Gilbert, Paul; Catarino, Francisca; Duarte, Cristiana; Matos, Marcela; Kolts, Russell; Stubbs, James; Ceresatto, Laura; Duarte, Joana; Pinto-Gouveia, José; Basran, Jaskaran; et al. (Biomed Central, 2017-04-27)
      Background Studies of the value of compassion on physical and mental health and social relationships have proliferated in the last 25 years. Although, there are several conceptualisations and measures of compassion, this study develops three new measures of compassion competencies derived from an evolutionary, motivational approach. The scales assess 1. the compassion we experience for others, 2. the compassion we experience from others, and 3. self-compassion based on a standard definition of compassion as a ‘sensitivity to suffering in self and others with a commitment to try to alleviate and prevent it’. We explored these in relationship to other compassion scales, self-criticism, depression, anxiety, stress and well-being. Methods Participants from three different countries (UK, Portugal and USA) completed a range of scales including compassion for others, self-compassion, self-criticism, shame, depression, anxiety and stress with the newly developed ‘The Compassionate Engagement and Actions’ scale. Results All three scales have good validity. Interestingly, we found that the three orientations of compassion are only moderately correlated to one another (r < .5). We also found that some elements of self-compassion (e.g., being sensitive to, and moved by one’s suffering) have a complex relationship with other attributes of compassion (e.g., empathy), and with depression, anxiety and stress. A path-analysis showed that self-compassion is a significant mediator of the association between self-reassurance and well-being, while self-criticism has a direct effect on depressive symptoms, not mediated by self-compassion. Discussion Compassion evolved from caring motivation and in humans is associated with a range of different socially intelligent competencies. Understanding how these competencies can be inhibited and facilitated is an important research endeavour. These new scales were designed to assess these competencies. Conclusions This is the first study to measure the three orientations of compassion derived from an evolutionary model of caring motivation with specified competencies. Our three new measures of compassion further indicate important complex relationships between different potentiation’s of compassion, well-being, and vulnerability to psychopathologies.
    • Dimensionality and measurement invariance of the Other as Shamer Scale across diverse adolescent samples

      Vagos, Paula; Ribeiro da Silva, Diana; Brazão, Nélio; Rijo, Daniel; Gilbert, Paul; University of Coimbra; University of Derby (Elsevier, 2016-04-26)
      The current work investigates the psychometric properties of the complete and short versions of the Other as Shamer Scale, using three adolescent samples presenting diverse degrees of behavioral problems' severity. This instrument measures external shame, which has been proposed as an important precursor and correlate of psychosocial functioning, but has only been tested with community samples. Results show the acceptability of a three-factor solution for the complete version of the measure (i.e., inferior, emptiness, and how others react when they see me make mistakes). The short unifactorial measure was also an acceptable fit for the data. Both measurement models were partially invariant across girls and boys, who presented similar levels of shame. They were also partially invariant across boys presenting diverse degrees of behavioral problems' severity, with community participants presenting the lowest levels of shame. Evidence was gathered in favor of the internal consistency and validity in relation to other relevant variables of both versions of the instrument. This study adds to the evidence of the Other as Shamer Scale being an appropriate evaluation tool, with diverse samples of adolescents, and providing the user with diverse assessment options to be chosen in accordance with varied research or therapeutic purposes.
    • Do therapeutic imagery practices affect physiological and emotional indicators of threat in high self-critics?

      Duarte, Joana; McEwan, Kirsten; Barnes, Christopher; Gilbert, Paul; Maratos, Frances A.; University of Coimbra; University of Derby; Cardiff University; Cognitive and Behavioural Centre for Research and Intervention; University of Coimbra; Portugal; Institute of Primary Care and Population Health; School of Medicine; Cardiff University; Wales UK; et al. (Wiley, 2015-09)
      Objectives: Imagery is known to be a powerful means of stimulating various physiological processes and is increasingly used within standard psychological therapies. Compassion-focused imagery (CFI) has been used to stimulate affiliative emotion in people with mental health problems. However, evidence suggests that self-critical individuals may have particular difficulties in this domain with single trials. The aim of the present study was to further investigate the role of self-criticism in responsiveness to CFI by specifically pre-selecting participants based on trait self-criticism. Design: Using the Forms of Self-Criticism/Self-Reassuring Scale, 29 individuals from a total sample of 139 were pre-selected to determine how self-criticism impacts upon an initial instance of imagery. Methods: All participants took part in three activities: a control imagery intervention (useable data N = 25), a standard CFI intervention (useable data N = 25), and a non-intervention control (useable data N = 24). Physiological measurements (alpha amylase) as well as questionnaire measures of emotional responding (i.e., the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule, the Types of Positive Affect Scale, and the State Adult Attachment Scale) were taken before and after the different interventions. Results: Following both imagery interventions, repeated measures analyses revealed that alpha amylase increased significantly for high self-critics compared with low self-critics. High self-critics (HSC) also reported greater insecurity on entering the imagery session and more negative CFI experiences compared with low self-critics. Practitioner Points: Data demonstrate that HSC respond negatively to imagery interventions in a single trial. This highlights that imagery focused therapies (e.g., CFI) need interventions that manage fears, blocks, and resistances to the techniques, particularly in HSC. An initial instance of imagery (e.g., CFI) can be frightening for people who have a tendency to be self-critical. This research provides examples of physiological and emotional responses to imagery type therapies in high and low self-critics, and associated clinical implications. Therapists may find it helpful to be mindful that when introducing imagery based therapies, highly self-critical patients need interventions that manage fears, blocks, and resistances to the techniques.
    • The early memories of warmth and safeness scale for adolescents: Cross-sample validation of the complete and brief versions

      Vagos, Paula; Ribeiro da Silva, Diana; Brazão, Nélio; Rijo, Daniel; Gilbert, Paul; University of Coimbra; University of Derby; Research Unit of the Cognitive-Behavioral Research and Intervention Center, Faculty of Psychology and Education Sciences; University of Coimbra; Coimbra Portugal; Research Unit of the Cognitive-Behavioral Research and Intervention Center, Faculty of Psychology and Education Sciences; University of Coimbra; Coimbra Portugal; Research Unit of the Cognitive-Behavioral Research and Intervention Center, Faculty of Psychology and Education Sciences; University of Coimbra; Coimbra Portugal; et al. (Wiley, 2016-12-06)
      This work presents psychometric analyses on the Early Memories of Warmth and Safeness Scale, which intends to evaluate the subjective perception of ones' early rearing experiences. Factor structure, measurement invariance, latent mean comparisons and validity in relation to external variables (i.e., forms of self-criticism/self-assurance, experiential avoidance and depressive, anxious and stress symptoms) were investigated. A sample of 1464 adolescents (52.3% male adolescents, mean age = 16.16, standard deviation = 1.51) was used, including 1064 participants recruited from schools, 192 participants recruited from foster care facilities and 208 boys recruited from juvenile justice facilities. A shortened version of the scale was also developed and subjected to the same psychometric analyses. A one-factor measurement model was a good fit for the data taken from both the complete and brief versions of the instrument. Such measures showed to be internally consistent with alpha values higher than 0.89. Evidence for their construct validity in relation to external variables was also found, with correlation values ranging from 0.19 to 0.45 for the complete version and from 0.18 to 0.44 for the brief version of the instrument. The brief version was the only one proving to be gender and sample invariant. Boys and girls scored similarly in their account of early memories, whereas community boys presented significantly higher scores when compared with referred and detained boys. Thus, the brief version of the instrument may be an appropriate alternative for use with diverse adolescent samples and may serve to advance knowledge on how early experiences impact on psychopathological outcomes. Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
    • The effect of shame and shame memories on paranoid ideation and social anxiety.

      Matos, Marcela; Pinto-Gouveia, José; Gilbert, Paul; University of Coimbra; University of Derby; Cognitive and Behavioural Research Centre (CINEICC); University of Coimbra; Coimbra; Portugal; Cognitive and Behavioural Research Centre (CINEICC); University of Coimbra; Coimbra; Portugal; Mental Health Research Unit; University of Derby; Derby; UK (Wiley, 2012-01-30)
      Background Social wariness and anxiety can take different forms. Paranoid anxiety focuses on the malevolence of others, whereas social anxiety focuses on the inadequacies in the self in competing for social position and social acceptance. This study investigates whether shame and shame memories are differently associated with paranoid and social anxieties. Method Shame, traumatic impact of shame memory, centrality of shame memory, paranoia and social anxiety were assessed using self-report questionnaires in 328 participants recruited from the general population. Results Results from path analyses show that external shame is specifically associated with paranoid anxiety. In contrast, internal shame is specifically associated with social anxiety. In addition, shame memories, which function like traumatic memories, or that are a central reference point to the individual's self-identity and life story, are significantly associated with paranoid anxiety, even when current external and internal shame are considered at the same time. Thus, traumatic impact of shame memory and centrality of shame memory predict paranoia (but not social anxiety) even when considering for current feelings of shame. Conclusion Our study supports the evolutionary model suggesting there are two different types of ‘conspecific’ anxiety, with different evolutionary histories, functions and psychological processes. Paranoia, but less so social anxiety, is associated with traumatic impact and the centrality of shame memories. Researchers and clinicians should distinguish between types of shame memory, particularly those where the self might have felt vulnerable and subordinate and perceived others as threatening and hostile, holding malevolent intentions towards the self.
    • Effects of intranasal oxytocin on compassion focused imagery.

      Rockliff, Helen; Karl, Anke; McEwan, Kirsten; Gilbert, Jean; Matos, Marcela; Gilbert, Paul; University of Bristol; University of Exeter; University of Derby; University of Coimbra (American Psychological Association, 2011-06-27)
      This study explored the effects of oxytocin on Compassion Focused Imagery (CFI), that is, imagining another “mind” being deeply compassionate to oneself, and the interaction of these effects with self-criticism and feeling socially safe with others. Forty-four healthy participants (29 men and 15 women) completed self-report measures of self-criticism, attachment style, and social safeness before taking part in a double-blind randomized placebo controlled study. They attended two imagery sessions, receiving oxytocin in one and a placebo in the other. Positive affect was measured before and after each imagery session, and “imagery experience” was assessed after each session. Overall, oxytocin increased the ease of imagining compassionate qualities but there were important individual differences in how CFI was experienced. Participants higher in self-criticism, lower in self-reassurance, social safeness, and attachment security had less positive experiences of CFI under oxytocin than placebo, indicating that the effects of oxytocin on affiliation may depend on attachment and self-evaluative styles.
    • An exploration of competitiveness and caring in relation to psychopathology.

      McEwan, Kirsten; Gilbert, Paul; Duarte, Joana; Kingsway Hospital, Derby; University of Coimbra (British Psychological Society, 2011-04-14)
      Objectives. Social mentality theory outlines how specialist systems have evolved to facilitate different types of social behaviour such as caring for offspring, forming alliances, and competing for resources. This research explored how different types of self-experiencearelinkedtothedifferentsocialmentalitiesofcompetitivesocialranking (focusingongaininganddefendingone’ssocialposition/status/rank)incontrasttocaring (being helpful to others). Perceived low social rank (with feelings of being inferior and unfavourable social comparison, SC) has been linked to depression, but a caring sense of self has less so. We hypothesized therefore that depression, in both clinical and nonclinical populations, would be primarily linked to competitive and rank focused sense of self rather than a caring sense of self. Method. Students (N=312) and patients with depression (N=48) completed selfreport scales measuring: self-experience related to competitiveness and caring; social rank; social safeness; and depression, anxiety, and stress. Results. The data suggest that in students, and particularly in patients, competitiveness (and feeling unsuccessful in competing for resources) is strongly associated with depression. Although caring shares a small correlation with depression in students, and with depression, anxiety, and stress in patients, when controlling for the rank variable of submissive behaviour this relationship ceases to be significant. Submissive behaviour was found to be a full mediator between caring and depression. We also found that how safe and comfortable one feels in one’s social relationships (social safeness), was a full mediator between competitiveness and depression. So, it is the feeling of being unable to compete where one does not feel secure in one’s social environment that is particularly linked to depression. Conclusion. The results of this study suggest that self-experience is complex and multifaceted and is linked to different social roles that are socially contextualized. In addition, perceived low social rank and perceived failures in being able to ‘attract’ others and compete for social resources, are strongly linked to depression, whereas experiencing oneself as caring and helpful is not when submissiveness is controlled for.
    • Exploring the international utility of progressing compassionate mind training in school settings: a comparison of implementation effectiveness of the same curricula in the UK and Portugal

      Maratos, Frances A.; Matos, Marcela; Alberquerque, Isabel; Wood, Wendy; Palmeira, Lara; Cuna, Marina; Lima, Margarida; Gilbert, Paul; University of Derby; University of Coimbra (British Psychological Society, 2020-09-01)
      Given current retention and well-being crises within the teaching profession worldwide, this research sought to explore implementation efficacy of a Compassion Mind Training (CMT) programme in cross-cultural school-settings. A 6-module CMT curriculum was implemented in teaching staff of two primary schools in the UK (N=76) and one primary school in Portugal (N=41). Results revealed that high-quality implementation was achieved across the UK and Portuguese cohorts, with the majority of staff providing extremely positive ratings regarding all aspects of module content, delivery, and interest/relevance. Moreover, recommendation of the CMT to others was the modal response across cohorts. These findings indicate that CMT in school settings has international appeal and utility in helping educators manage educational-based stresses.
    • 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.
    • Fears of compassion: development of three self-report measures.

      Gilbert, Paul; McEwan, Kirsten; Matos, Marcela; Rivis, Amanda; Kingsway Hospital; University of Coimbra; University of Nottingham (British Psychological Society, 2011-04-13)
      Objectives. There is increasing evidence that helping people develop compassion for themselves and others has powerful impacts on negative affect and promotes positive affect. However, clinical observations suggest that some individuals, particularly those high in self-criticism, can find self-compassion and receiving compassion difficult and can befearfulofit.Thisstudythereforedevelopedmeasuresoffearof:compassionforothers, compassion from others, and compassion for self. We also explored the relationship of these fears with established compassion for self and compassion for others measures, self-criticism, attachment styles, and depression, anxiety, and stress. Method. Students (N = 222) and therapists (N = 53) completed measures of fears of compassion, self-compassion, compassion for others, self-criticism, adult attachment, and psychopathology. Results. Fear of compassion for self was linked to fear of compassion from others, and both were associated with self-coldness, self-criticism, insecure attachment, and depression, anxiety, and stress. In a multiple regression, self-criticism was the only significant predictor of depression. Conclusion. This study suggests the importance of exploring how and why some people may actively resist engaging in compassionate experiences or behaviours and be fearful of affiliative emotions in general. This has important implications for therapeutic interventions and the therapeutic relationship because affiliative emotions are major regulators of threat-based emotions.
    • Fears of happiness and compassion in relationship with depression, alexithymia, and attachment security in a depressed sample.

      Gilbert, Paul; McEwan, Kirsten; Catarino, Francisca; Baião, Rita; Palmeira, Lara; University of Derby; University of Coimbra; Mental Health Research Unit; Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust; Derby UK; Mental Health Research Unit; Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust; Derby UK; Mental Health Research Unit; Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust; Derby UK; et al. (Wiley, 2013-11-27)
      Objectives In a non-clinical population, fears of compassion and fear of happiness have both been found to be highly correlated with alexithymia and depression. This study sought to explore these processes and their links with adult attachment and social safeness and pleasure in a depressed group. Method A total of 52 participants suffering from moderate to severe depression completed measures of fears of happiness, compassion from others and for self, in addition to measures of alexithymia, attachment, social safeness, and depression, anxiety, and stress. Results Fears of compassion and happiness were highly correlated with alexithymia, adult attachment, and depression, anxiety, and stress. Fear of happiness was found to be the best predictor of depression, anxiety, and stress, whereas fear of compassion from others was the best predictor of adult attachment. A path analysis showed that fears of positive emotion fully mediate the link between alexithymia and depression. This clinical sample had higher mean scores in fears of positive emotions, alexithymia, and depression, anxiety, and stress than a previously studied student sample. Conclusions This study adds to the evidence that fears of positive emotions are important features of mental health difficulties. Unaddressed, these fears can block positive emotions and may lead to emotional avoidance of positive affect thus contributing as blocks to successful therapy. Therapies for depression may therefore profitably assess and desensitize the fear of positive emotions. Practitioner points Many therapies focus on reducing negative affect and increasing positive affect. However, clinicians should be aware that positive emotions can be feared: in this clinical sample, depression is strongly associated with fear of happiness and fears of compassion. If clients fear happiness and compassion, they may resist or have difficulties in engaging in activities which evoke positive affect. If not addressed these fears may become blocks to therapy. Fears of different types of positive affect may require different interventions.
    • Fears of negative emotions in relation to fears of happiness, compassion, alexithymia and psychopathology in a depressed population: A preliminary study

      Gilbert, Paul; McEwan, Kirsten; Catarino, Francisca; Baião, Rita; University of Derby; University of Coimbra (OMICS International, 2014-05-13)
      Abstract Objectives: While fears of negative or aversive emotions are linked to experiential avoidance and psychopathology, recent studies have also focused on the relation between psychopathology and fear of positive emotions. This study explores 1. which negative emotions of anger, anxiety and sadness on most feared and avoided and 2. the links between fears and avoidance of negative emotions, with fears of positive and affiliative emotions, alexithymia, and self-reported depression anxiety and stress. Method: A new scale was developed to measure fears of three negative emotions anxiety anger and sadness. 52 participants suffering from moderate to severe depression completed this measure, along with fear of happiness, fears of compassion, alexithymia and psychopathology. Results: Interestingly fears of negative emotions were not correlated with each other; in other words one can be frightened of one negative emotion but not another. The correlation between the fear of an emotion and the avoidance of that emotion was different for the three negative emotions, with fear of anger being the most strongly linked to its avoidance. Fear of sadness was the only feared ‘negative’ emotion associated with depression. Fear of sadness and fear of anger, but not anxiety also linked to fears of positive emotions and alexithymia. Conclusions: Fears of (so called) negative emotions vary in terms of the degree to which people are fearful of them and avoid them. Importantly it was sadness, a neglected emotion in the studies of emotion avoidance, which accounted for the higher proportion of variance for depression and alexithymia.
    • Forms of self-criticising/attacking & self-reassuring scale: Psychometric properties and normative study

      Baião, Rita; Gilbert, Paul; McEwan, Kirsten; Carvalho, Sérgio; University of Coimbra; University of Derby; CINEICC - Cognitive and Behavioural Centre for Research and Intervention; University of Coimbra; Portugal; Mental Health Research Unit; Kinsgway Hospital; Derby UK; Institute of Translation, Innovation, Methodology & Engagement; Cardiff University School of Medicine; Cardiff UK; CINEICC - Cognitive and Behavioural Centre for Research and Intervention; University of Coimbra; Portugal (Wiley, 2014-12-10)
      Abstract Background The Forms of Self-Criticising/Attacking & Self-Reassuring Scale (FSCRS, Gilbert, Clarke, Hempel, Miles, & Irons, 2004, Br. J. Clin. Psychology, 43, 31) is a self-report instrument that measures self-criticism and self-reassurance. It has shown good reliability and has been used in several different studies and in a range of different populations. The aim of this study was to explore its psychometric proprieties in a large clinical and non-clinical sample, to establish its reliability. In addition, to our knowledge, this is the first study to provide normative data to FSCRS. Differences in population scores will also be addressed. Method Data were collated from 12 different studies, resulting in 887 non-clinical participants and 167 mixed diagnosis patients who completed the FSCRS. Results A confirmatory factor analysis shows that both in non-clinical and clinical samples, the three-factor model of FSCRS is a well-adjusted measure for assessing the two forms of self-criticism and a form of self-reassurance. Normative data for the scale are presented. Comparing the two populations, the non-clinical was more self-reassuring and less self-critical than the clinical one. Comparing genders, in the non-clinical population men were more self-reassuring and less self-critical than women. No significant gender differences were found in the clinical population. Conclusions Taken together, results corroborate previous findings about the link between self-criticism and clinical population, which stresses the need to both assess and address it in therapy. Results also confirm that FSCRS is a robust and reliable instrument, which now can aid clinicians and researchers to have a better understanding of the results, taking into account the norms presented.
    • How one experiences and embodies compassionate mind training influences its effectiveness.

      Matos, Marcela; Duarte, Joana; Duarte, Cristiana; Gilbert, Paul; Pinto-Gouveia, José; University of Coimbra; University of Derby (Springer, 2017-12-02)
      This paper explores indicators of practice quality of a brief compassion mind training (CMT) intervention and their impact on the development of an inner sense of one’s compassionate self (CS) and a range of self-report measures. Participants were randomly assigned to one of two conditions: compassionate mind training (CMT; n = 77) and wait-list control. Participants in the CMT condition practiced a range of CMT practices during 2 weeks. Each week, participants completed a feedback questionnaire, measuring practice frequency, helpfulness and embodiment of the practices in everyday life. Self-report measures of compassion, positive affect, shame, self-criticism, fears of compassion and psychopathological symptoms were also completed at pre and post. Practice frequency was associated with the frequency and easiness of embodiment of the CS. Perceived helpfulness of the practices was related to greater embodiment of the CS and to increases in compassion, reassured self, relaxed and safe affect and decreases in self-criticism. The embodiment variables of the CS were associated with higher compassion for the self, for others and from others and with improvements in reassured self, safe affect and compassionate goals. Embodiment of the CS and perceived helpfulness of the practices predicted compassion for the self and experience of compassion from others at post-intervention. Perceiving compassion cultivation practices as helpful and being able to embody the CS in everyday life is key to foster self-compassion and the experience of receiving compassion from others, as well as to promote feelings of safeness, contentment and calmness.
    • The impact of self-criticism and self-reassurance on weight-related affect and well-being in participants of a commercial weight management programme.

      Duarte, Cristiana; Stubbs, James; Pinto-Gouveia, José; Matos, Marcela; Gale, Corinne; Morris, Liam; Gilbert, Paul; University of Coimbra; University of Leeds; Slimming World; et al. (Karger, 2017-04-04)
      Objective: Certain psychological and emotional factors can undermine attempts at weight management. Previously we have found that shame and self-criticism were significantly associated with disinhibition and perceived hunger in 2,236 participants of a weight management programme. This effect was fully mediated through weight-related negative affect. The present study examined the impact of self-criticism and self-reassurance on well-being and whether it was mediated by weight-related affect in the same population. Methods: Participants completed an online survey of measures of self-criticism and self-reassurance, and negative and positive affect associated with weight and well-being. Results: Path analysis suggested that self-criticism was significantly associated with decreased well-being, both directly and indirectly, mediated by increased negative and decreased positive weight-related affect. Self-reassurance had a stronger association with increased well-being by predicting lower negative and increased positive weight-related affect. All effects were significant at p < 0.001. Conclusion: Self-criticism and self-reassurance were related to well-being in participants attempting to manage their weight, both directly and through their impact on weight-related affect. The positive association between self-reassurance and well-being was stronger than the negative association between self-criticism and well-being. Supporting the development of self-reassuring competencies in weight management programmes may improve weight-related affect and well-being.
    • The impact of shame, self-criticism and social rank on eating behaviours in overweight and obese women participating in a weight management programme

      Duarte, Cristiana; Matos, Marcela; Stubbs, James; Gale, Corinne; Morris, Liam; Gouveia, Jose Pinto; Gilbert, Paul; University of Coimbra; University of Derby; Slimming World; et al. (Public Library of Science (PLOS), 2017-01-20)
      Recent research has suggested that obesity is a stigmatised condition. Concerns with personal inferiority (social rank), shame and self-criticism may impact on weight management behaviours. The current study examined associations between social comparison (shame, self-criticism), negative affect and eating behaviours in women attending a community based weight management programme focused on behaviour change. 2,236 participants of the programme completed an online survey using measures of shame, self-criticism, social comparison, and weight-related affect, which were adapted to specifically address eating behaviour, weight and body shape perceptions. Correlation analyses showed that shame, self-criticism and social comparison were associated with negative affect. All of these variables were related to eating regulation and weight control (p < 0.001). Path analysis revealed that the association of shame, hated-self, and low self-reassurance on disinhibition and susceptibility to hunger was fully mediated by weight-related negative affect, even when controlling for the effect of depressive symptoms (p < 0.050 to p < 0.010). In addition, feelings of inadequacy and unfavourable social comparisons were associated with higher disinhibition and susceptibility to hunger, partially mediated through weight-related negative affect (p = 0.001). These variables were negatively associated with extent of weight loss during programme attendance prior to the survey, while self-reassurance and positive social comparisons were positively associated with the extent of weight loss prior to the survey (p < .050). Shame, self-criticism, and perceptions of inferiority may play a significant role in self-regulation of eating behaviour in overweight people trying to manage their weight.