The Role of Self-compassion in Neurological Conditions

Hawkes, Meg and Eccles, Fiona and Kirkby, Antonia (2023) The Role of Self-compassion in Neurological Conditions. PhD thesis, Lancaster University.

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This thesis explores the role self-compassion may play within neurological conditions. Section one includes a scoping review which examines how self-compassion is investigated within neurological conditions, with a particular focus on intervention studies. Five academic databases were searched in November 2022 and 17 papers met all criteria and were included. The interventions utilised could be broadly split into two types, compassion-focused (such as Compassion Focused Therapy) and mindfulness-based (such as Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction). The compassion-focused studies did not always measure self-compassion, which meant that changes in outcomes could not be clearly attributed to changes in self-compassion. Both intervention types targeted changes to well-being and physical health or psychological distress. Findings suggested that developing self-compassion may take time, which has implications both clinically and for research. Suggestions for future research are made, including the methodology and measures used for investigating self-compassion and the neurological conditions examined. Section two involves an empirical study investigating the role of self-compassion and experiential avoidance in functional seizures. People who experience functional seizures completed an online survey including measures of self-compassion, experiential avoidance, depressive symptoms, seizure severity, seizure frequency and quality-of-life. Correlational and mediation analyses were conducted to examine the relationships between all variables. Correlational relationships were all in expected directions, apart from seizure frequency which did not have a significant relationship with self-compassion. Experiential avoidance significantly mediated the relationship between self-compassion and several outcomes (depressive symptoms, quality-of-life, and seizure severity). These findings suggest the importance of developing compassion-cultivating interventions for those with functional seizures. Section three is the critical appraisal, which reflects on the decisions made and any issues which arose during the process of conducting this project.

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Thesis (PhD)
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29 Aug 2023 15:55
Last Modified:
16 Jul 2024 06:04