The Intergenerational Transmission of Self-Compassion

Document Type


Date of this Version



Self-compassion is an adaptive coping ability consisting of approaching failure and hardship with balanced awareness, self-kindness and the recognition that challenges are inherent to the human condition. Self-compassion is associated with reduced psychiatric symptoms and positive attributes that lead to human flourishing, thus being a construct of interest to Positive Psychology. This paper intends to contribute to the increasing body of knowledge in self-compassion by exploring its development in individuals. We conducted a cross-sectional investigation of 246 mother-adolescent dyads (adolescent Mage= 14.0 years, 50.8% girls), to investigate the intergenerational transmission of self-compassion and factors mediating this relationship. Results indicated that maternal self-compassion is positively related to adolescent self-compassion directly, and indirectly via parental self-efficacy and adolescent attachment to mother. We did not find evidence that the association between maternal and adolescent self-compassion is moderated by sex, or that lack of self-compassion is associated with maternal psychological control. Our results suggest the relationship between maternal self-compassion and parental self-efficacy is important in the intergenerational transmission of self-compassion. Parental interventions targeting parental competence may benefit from including self-compassion training. Findings also suggest self-compassion interventions may particularly benefit parents navigating challenging phases of child development, such as adolescence.


self-compassion, adolescence, parenting, self-efficacy, attachment




Empirical study

This document is currently not available here.



Date Posted: 22 September 2020