Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Program Name/Specialization

Social Psychology


Faculty of Arts

First Advisor

Nancy Kocovski

Advisor Role



Self-compassion involves being accepting and caring toward oneself when dealing with failure and hardships. Inducing self-compassion has been shown to be helpful, particularly for individuals with high levels of social anxiety. However, few studies have compared a self- compassion intervention to another adaptive strategy. The primary aim of the present study was to examine the impact of a self-compassion induction for social stress compared to another beneficial strategy. Three studies were conducted to compare self-compassion and cognitive reappraisal as strategies for coping with past stressful social situations and current social stress. In Study 1, participants (N = 276) were asked to recall and describe a situation during the pandemic where they felt judged and then were randomly assigned to either a self-compassion, cognitive reappraisal or a control writing condition. Those who completed either the self- compassion or cognitive reappraisal condition reported significantly lower distress immediately after the induction, and higher levels of self-compassion and reappraisal compared to the control condition. Study 2 (N = 277) was similar to Study 1; however, participants were asked to recall any past stressful social situation where they felt judged by others. Those who completed the self-compassion induction reported significantly higher levels of self-compassion and reappraisal and significantly lower levels of state anxiety compared to those in the control condition. Finally, in Study 3, participants (N = 158) were randomly assigned to one of the three conditions prior to presenting a 3-minute speech via Zoom. Those who reported high levels of fear of self- compassion and high social anxiety benefited most from the reappraisal condition. These studies provide insight on the different benefits of engaging in self-compassion and cognitive reappraisal in diverse contexts and suggest overlap between these two constructs.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season