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Meghan S. Ingstrup, Amber D. Mosewich, and Nicholas L. Holt

The purpose of this study was to explore factors that contributed to the development of self-compassion among highly self-compassionate women varsity athletes. More specifically, the research question was: how did women varsity athletes with high self-compassion perceive they became self-compassionate? To purposefully sample participants, 114 women varsity athletes completed the Self-Compassion Scale (Neff, 2003b). Ten athletes with high self-compassion scores then participated in individual interviews and a follow-up second interview. Data were analyzed using interpretive phenomenological analysis (Smith & Osborn, 2003). Analysis produced three main themes that contributed to the development of self-compassion: (a) role of parents (seeking and receiving help from parents, parents teaching self-kindness, parents putting experiences in perspective); (b) gaining self-awareness; and (c) learning from others (peers, siblings, coaches, sport psychologists). These findings provide insights into the ways in which self-compassion can be learned and taught, and have implications for practitioners who work with women athletes.