Examining Self-Compassion Tailored to the Context of Physical Activity

Vicki Ebbeck, Oregon State University, USA
Brian Souza, Oregon State University, USA

Theme: Motivation and self-perceptions

Poster Number: 60

Program ID: POS-1

Presentation: October 3, 2013 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

Room: Napoleon


Consistent with the positive psychology movement, self-compassion has received increasing attention in the contemporary literature because of its robust association with psychological well-being. Our aim was to expand on earlier work where we investigated the relationship between general self-compassion (GSC; Neff, 2003a) and physical activity behavior (PAB); specifically, in the current study we examined GSC and PAB in relation to physical activity self-compassion (PASC). Participants included 422 college students (214 females; 208 males) enrolled in a lifetime wellness course. The scale of GSC developed by Neff (2003b) was modified to assess PASC such that physical activity was first defined and then individual items referred specifically to physical activity. The measure of PASC was found to have acceptable reliabilities for the six subscales ranging from .73 to .81, and a CFA demonstrated that the 6-factor model provided an adequate fit with the sample data (NNFI=.92; CFI=.93; RMSEA=.05). Logistic regression revealed that individuals higher (based on a median split), versus lower, in PASC were 2 and 2.5 times more likely to invoke kindness and mindfulness with regard to their GSC, respectively, while shared human experience was non-significant. In contrast, individuals who were lower, versus higher, in PASC were 3 times more likely to be judgmental in terms of GSC, while feelings of isolation and over-identification with thoughts as well as emotions did not significantly contribute. Furthermore, a chi square analysis (p<.04) indicated that individuals higher in PASC (based on a median split) reported frequent PAB more often and infrequent PAB less often than expected, while individuals lower in PASC reported infrequent PAB more often and frequent PAB less often than expected. These findings supported our hypotheses that PASC and GSC would be related yet distinct, and that individuals higher in PASC would be more physically active than individuals lower in PASC.

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