Volume 5, Article 11
Exploring fears of compassion and stress during a mindfulness and compassion intervention
Laura Allen, Elizabeth Sparkes, Tony Lawrence, Luke Sage and Andy Turner
Citation: Allen, L., Sparkes, E., Lawrence, T., Sage, L., & Turner, A. (2021). ‘Exploring fears of compassion and stress during a mindfulness and compassion intervention.’ European Journal of Applied Positive Psychology, 5, 11, 1-11. https://www.nationalwellbeingservice.org/volumes/volume-5-2021/volume-5-article-11/
Processing dates: Submitted 29th October 2020; Resubmitted 7th February 2021; Accepted 17th February 2021; Published 10th August 2021
Background: Chronic levels of stress have been linked to some of the biggest health concerns including diabetes, cardiovascular disease and mental health issues (Harris et al., 2017; Song et al., 2019; Bullmore, 2018). Mindfulness based interventions aim to reduce stress whilst promoting compassion practices. Previous research has identified a relationship between fears of compassion and stress in a non-clinical population (Gilbert et al., 2011).
Aims: The aim of this research was to expand on previous findings to ascertain the relationship between fears of compassion and stress for a non-clinical population on a mindfulness and compassion course. Evidence is still sparse in the area of fears of compassion particularly around origins and vulnerabilities (Duarte et al., 2015).
Methodology: Ninety eight participants were recruited and given self report measures of fears of compassion and perceived stress. Participants included sixty nine females and thirty males with the most common age group between 35-44 years old. A multiple regression analysis was used to analyse the relationship between fears of compassion on all three subscales and stress.
Results: A significant positive correlation was identified between fears of expressing kindness and compassion to oneself and stress. Fears of responding to compassion
from others was shown to have a strong correlation to fears of expressing kindness and compassion to oneself but no significance to stress and was therefore identified
as a potential suppressor variable.
Discussion: Further analysis hypothesised that the amplification effects of the suppressor variable could impact on the ability to recognise the need and necessity
of compassion from others and to the self.
Keywords: mindfulness; fears of compassion; stress; positive psychology; non-clinical
Laura Allen is with the School of Psychological, Social and Behavioural research, Coventry University, Coventry, UK
Elizabeth Sparkes is with the Faculty of Health & Life Sciences, Coventry University, Coventry, UK
Tony Lawrence is with the Faculty of Health & Life Sciences, Coventry University, Coventry, UK
Luke Sage is with the Faculty of Health & Life Sciences, Coventry University, Coventry, UK
Andy Turner is with the School of Psychological, Social and Behavioural research, Coventry University, Coventry, UK