Associations between self-compassion and complicated grief symptoms in bereaved individuals: An exploratory study
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Grief is a normal and natural response to the loss of a loved one that is characterized by a broad range of emotional, behavioral, cognitive, and physiological symptoms. For most bereaved, these symptoms abate over time as the individual comes to terms with the loss. However, about 10% of the bereaved experience a persistent and debilitating grief reaction, a condition that has been termed complicated grief or prolonged grief. Self-compassion has been defined as a kind and caring attitude towards oneself when experiencing suffering. The present study explored the associations between self-compassion and complicated grief symptoms in a bereaved sample from the general population. Participants completed measures of complicated grief (Inventory of Complicated Grief), self-compassion (Self-Compassion Scale), and neuroticism (NEO FFI-3 neuroticism scale). In line with previous studies, bereavement by unexpected death and high neuroticism were related to grief symptom severity. The results further showed statistically significant relationships between low self-compassion and the severity of complicated grief symptoms. No associations between the cause of death (natural expected, natural sudden, or unnatural) and self-compassion were found. The self-kindness component of self-compassion did not moderate the relationships between established risk factors for complicated grief (cause of death and neuroticism) and complicated grief symptomatology. It is concluded that it is important for clinicians to be attentive to the role that low self-compassion may have in the grief response of bereaved individuals.
This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Nordic Psychology on 08 Nov 2019, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/https://doi.org/10.1080/19012276.2019.1684347.