Self-compassionate CF adults have better quality of life, study finds

People with cystic fibrosis (CF) who score high on self-compassion measures also tend to report a better quality of life, according to a study.

“The current results suggest that psychological interventions that increase self-compassion may be beneficial in improving the mental health and quality of life of adults with cystic fibrosis,” the researchers wrote.

The study, “Exploring associations between self-compassion, self-criticism, mental health, and quality of life in adults with cystic fibrosis: Informing future interventions, ”Was published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology in Medical Settings.

Self-compassion is generally defined as treating yourself with kindness and understanding – being aware of your own feelings and humanity – while trying to minimize judgment or isolation. A growing body of research suggests that people who are more compassionate to themselves tend to report fewer mental health issues and a better ability to cope with pain.

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Here, a team of scientists in the UK interviewed 114 adults with cystic fibrosis with standardized questionnaires on self-compassion, as well as quality of life and associated measures.

“Self-compassion is increasingly recognized as an important factor in research on quality of life and mental health. It is therefore important that we better understand how self-compassion could be integrated into both clinical and self-care in the adult CF population, ”the team wrote.

Yet scientists have noted that studies of self-compassion and self-criticism in adults with cystic fibrosis remain scarce.

Among survey respondents, the ages ranged from 18 to 70, with roughly equal numbers of males and females. Most of the respondents were white and most were employed.

Statistical analyzes of participants’ scores showed significant associations between more self-compassion and better quality of life. Examples of items on the Self-Compassion Scale included “I am kind to myself when I am in pain. “

In contrast, higher scores for self-criticism were associated with poorer quality of life. Examples of items on the Self-Criticism / Attack Function ladder included “I get critical and angry with myself for controlling myself.” “

Better scores on the nine quality of life subscales – physical functioning, social functioning, treatment issues, pulmonary symptoms, emotional functioning, concerns for the future, interpersonal relationships, body image, and work concerns – were related to less anxiety, stress and depression.

“Individuals who endorsed a better quality of life tended to report greater self-compassion, while those who reported more severe negative emotional states endorsed greater self-criticism,” the authors wrote. researchers.

Other statistical analyzes indicated that self-compassion moderated the relationship between anxiety and body image – in other words, body image issues were less likely to cause problems if the person had a problem. great self-compassion. Self-compassion also moderates the link between treatment issues and anxiety.

“Compassionate people recognize that life’s hardships are inevitable and accept this reality with benevolence rather than self-judgment when faced with painful experiences,” the investigators concluded. “So self-compassion can be an important resource for adults with cystic fibrosis as they go through difficult times in life. “

The team added that psychological interventions aimed at increasing self-compassion “could reduce the psychological impact of health-related quality of life changes.”

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