Self-Criticism and Depressive Symptoms: Mediating Role of Self-Compassion

Huaiyu Zhang, Natalie N. Watson-Singleton, Sara E. Pollard, Delishia M. Pittman, Dorian A. Lamis, Nicole L. Fischer, Bobbi Patterson, Nadine J. Kaslow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Self-compassion is gaining recognition as a resilience factor with implications for positive mental health. This study investigated the role of self-compassion in alleviating the effect of self-criticism on depressive symptoms. Participants were 147 urban, low-income African Americans with a recent suicide attempt. They were administered measures of self-criticism, depressive symptoms, and self-compassion. Results from this cross-sectional investigation showed that self-criticism was positively associated with depressive symptoms and negatively associated with self-compassion, and self-compassion was negatively associated with depressive symptoms. Bootstrapping analysis revealed that self-compassion mediated the self-criticism–depressive symptoms link, suggesting that self-compassion ameliorates the negative impact of self-criticism on depressive symptoms. Our findings suggest that low-income African Americans with recent suicide attempt histories may benefit from interventions that focus on enhancing self-compassion. These results also highlight self-compassion as a positive trait with promise to improve people’s quality of life and suggest that self-compassion-focused interventions are consistent with a positive psychology framework.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)202-223
Number of pages22
JournalOmega (United States)
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019


  • African Americans
  • depressive symptoms
  • self-compassion
  • self-criticism
  • suicide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


Dive into the research topics of 'Self-Criticism and Depressive Symptoms: Mediating Role of Self-Compassion'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this