Document Type


Publication Title

Journal of Managerial Issues


Given the persistent financial and psychological costs of abusive supervision in organizations, a greater understanding of the mechanisms that employees can use to cope with abuse is warranted. In the present study, abusive supervision is expected to be negatively related to a key employee coping mechanism – self-compassion – and this hindered mechanism would lead to higher levels of anxiety and lower levels of hope. However, a written meditation targeting self-compassion could break the link between abuse and employee anxiety or hope. The hypotheses and the written self-compassion meditation were tested across two studies incorporating both a highly controlled laboratory setting and a field setting utilizing employees who had experienced abuse from a supervisor. Abusive supervision negatively impacted an employee’s self-compassion, which in turn predicted greater anxiety and lower feelings of hope among employees. A written meditation was also effective for protecting state self-compassion in a laboratory setting yet results did not replicate in the field study (unless the focus was only on employees who experienced the highest levels of abusive supervision). Future research is encouraged to explore employee strategies for coping with abusive supervision given organizational and leadership interventions may not always be effective.

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Original Citation

Burton, J.P., Buis, B.C., and Barber, L.K. (2024). A new hope? Restoring self-compassion in response to abusive supervision. Journal of Managerial Issues, 36, 50-69.


Department of Management



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