Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Orcutt, Holly K.

Degree Name

Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy)

Legacy Department

Department of Psychology


Self-compassion focuses on how individuals treat themselves during periods of suffering. Overall, self-compassion is positively associated with adaptive mental health outcomes and negatively associated with psychopathology. One potential mechanism by which self-compassion may influence other constructs is emotion regulation. Unfortunately, most research about emotion regulation is conducted using retrospective reporting, meaning that the data are subject to memory biases. Ambulatory assessment methods allow for more frequent sampling, thus decreasing the reliance on recall. Using this methodology, the present study examined how differences in self-compassion were related to emotion regulation in daily life. Contrary to predictions, few ambulatory measures (depression, anxiety, problem solving of depression, avoidance of all three types of distress) were significantly predicted by the corresponding retrospective measures. Baseline self-compassion predicted ambulatory anxiety and stress, but not depression. Although individuals varied in their ambulatory ratings of distress, self-compassion did not significantly predict these ratings. Individuals also varied in the log odds of choosing each emotion regulation strategy; however, self-compassion did not predict these odds. Other exploratory hypotheses were examined regarding intensity of distress and emotion regulation choice, intensity of distress and number of regulatory strategies endorsed, and self-esteem and emotion regulation choice. Intensity of distress predicted selection of most or all of the regulation strategies, and intensity of anxiety and stress (but not depression) significantly predicted the number of strategies used. Finally, self-esteem negatively predicted avoidance of depression, rumination of all three types of distress, and suppression of depression. Implications and limitations are discussed.


173 pages




Northern Illinois University

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