Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Faculty of Science

First Advisor

Dr. Nancy Kocovski

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


Self-compassion refers to the tendency to be kind and understanding towards oneself in times of failure rather than responding to such situations with harsh self-criticism. There is reason to believe on the basis of existing research that self-compassion is particularly relevant within the social domain. As such, this thesis is focused on describing and evaluating the Social Self-Compassion Scale (SSCS), which was developed for the purposes of this research and measures the degree to which individuals tend to be kind and understanding towards themselves when confronted with social adversity. This thesis begins by describing Studies 1 through 3, which were online self-report studies that tested the psychometric properties of the scale using large samples of at least 200 participants. The SSCS related to a variety of outcomes as expected, and was predictive of measures beyond the general self-compassion scale such as social anxiety, perceived social self-efficacy and mattering. To expand on this research, Study 4 further evaluated the reliability and validity of the SSCS and attempted to temporarily induce self-compassion in a social context as well as affect among participants (N = 91). This final study also examined levels of self-improvement motivation and implicit beliefs related to the capacity to improve upon and change past social mistakes. As anticipated, those in the social self-compassion condition in Study 4 reported significantly higher levels of positive affect, although no differences emerged with respect to negative affect or subjective distress. In addition, those in the social self-compassion condition reported a greater endorsement of incremental beliefs regarding the ability to change social qualities as compared to both the self-esteem and control conditions. Additionally, in partial support of the initial hypothesis, both those in the social self-compassion condition and the control condition reported higher self-improvement motivation regarding desire and willingness to change in the future. Implications of findings and suggestions for future research are discussed.

Convocation Year