Self-Compassion: A Potential Resource for Young Women Athletes

in Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
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Self-compassion has demonstrated many psychological benefits (Neff, 2009). In an effort to explore self-compassion as a potential resource for young women athletes, we explored relations among self-compassion, proneness to self-conscious emotions (i.e., shame, guilt-free shame, guilt, shame-free guilt, authentic pride, and hubristic pride), and potentially unhealthy self-evaluative thoughts and behaviors (i.e., social physique anxiety, obligatory exercise, objectified body consciousness, fear of failure, and fear of negative evaluation). Young women athletes (N = 151; Mage = 15.1 years) participated in this study. Self-compassion was negatively related to shame proneness, guilt-free shame proneness, social physique anxiety, objectified body consciousness, fear of failure, and fear of negative evaluation. In support of theoretical propositions, self-compassion explained variance beyond self-esteem on shame proneness, guilt-free shame proneness, shame-free guilt proneness, objectified body consciousness, fear of failure, and fear of negative evaluation. Results suggest that, in addition to self-esteem promotion, self-compassion development may be beneficial in cultivating positive sport experiences for young women.

Amber D. Mosewich is with the School of Human Kinetics, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada. Kent C. Kowalski is with the College of Kinesiology, University of Saskatchewan, SK, Canada. Catherine M. Sabiston is with the Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education, McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada. Whitney A. Sedgwick is with the Department of Counselling Services, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada. Jessica L. Tracy is with the Department of Psychology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada.