Self-compassion and its barriers: predicting outcomes from inpatient and residential eating disorders treatment Geller, Josie; Samson, Lindsay; Maiolino, Nadia; Iyar, Megumi M.; Kelly, Allison C.; Srikameswaran, Suja
Background: Individuals with eating disorders (EDs) experience barriers to self-compassion, with two recently identified in this population: Meeting Standards, or concerns that self-compassion would result in showing flaws or lead to loss of achievements or relationships, and Emotional Vulnerability, or concerns that self-compassion would elicit difficult emotions such as grief or anger. This exploratory study examined the utility of self-compassion and two barriers to self-compassion in predicting clinical outcomes in intensive ED treatments. Method: Individuals in inpatient (n = 87) and residential (n = 68) treatment completed measures of self-compassion and fears of self-compassion, and ten clinical outcome variables at pre- and post-treatment. Results: Pre-treatment self-compassion was generally not associated with outcomes, whereas pre-treatment selfcompassion barriers generally were. In both treatment settings, fewer Emotional Vulnerability barriers were associated with improved interpersonal/affective functioning and quality of life, and fewer Meeting Standards barriers were associated with improved readiness and motivation. Interestingly, whereas Meeting Standards barriers were associated with less ED symptom improvement in inpatient treatment, Emotional Vulnerability barriers were associated with less ED symptom improvement in residential treatment. Conclusions: Given that few longitudinal predictors of outcome have been established, the finding that pre-treatment barriers to self-compassion predict outcomes in both inpatient and residential settings is noteworthy. Targeting self-compassion barriers early in treatment may be helpful in facilitating ED recovery. Keywords: Self-compassion, Fear of self-compassion, Barriers to self-compassion, Eating disorders, Treatment Plain English summary Self-compassion is associated with a number of positive health indicators and has been shown to support recovery from an eating disorder. This exploratory study examined whether self-compassion and barriers to self-compassion predict clinical outcomes in inpatient and residential eating disorders treatment settings. Whereas self-compassion was rarely associated with outcome, self-compassion barriers were associated with the majority of variables investigated. Given that few longitudinal predictors have been established in this field, the relation between barriers to self-compassion and outcome in both inpatient and residential settings is noteworthy. Targeting self-compassion barriers early in treatment may be helpful in facilitating eating disorder recovery.
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