Self-Compassion in Recovery Following Potentially Traumatic Stress: Longitudinal Study of At-Risk Youth

Mordechai Zeller, Kim Yuval, Yaara Nitzan-Assayag, Amit Bernstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Despite promising theory, empirical study of the putative protective properties of self-compassion (SC) with respect to resilience to and recovery from traumatic stress is limited. The present study tested the theorized protective role(s) of SC with respect to trauma-related psychopathology over time among an at-risk sample of adolescents (N = 64, 26 % females, M(SD) age = 17.5(1.07) years-old, range age = 15–19; grades 9–12) directly exposed to a potentially traumatic stressful event – the Mount Carmel Forest Fire Disaster. The longitudinal design involved three assessment time-points – within 30-days of the potentially traumatic event (T1) and then at 3- (T2) and 6-months (T3) follow-up intervals. Consistent with prediction, multi-level modeling of mediation documented the prospective protective function(s) of SC, above and beyond dispositional mindfulness, with respect to posttraumatic stress and panic symptoms, depressive symptoms, and suicidality symptoms, but not well-being. The findings are discussed, theoretically, with respect to SC as a malleable protective factor for trauma-related psychopathology outcomes; and, clinically, with respect to SC as a target for future trauma-related selective-prevention and -early intervention research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)645-653
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Abnormal Child Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 15 Apr 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014, Springer Science+Business Media New York.


  • Adolescents
  • Compassion
  • Developmental psychopathology
  • Longitudinal
  • Protective factor
  • Risk factor
  • Self-compassion
  • Stress
  • Trauma
  • Youth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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