Self-compassion as a buffer against concrete but not abstract threat

Zach Gerber, David Anaki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Terror management theory posits that validation of self-esteem is a major defense mechanism in keeping mortal concerns at bay. Yet, self-esteem often leads to devaluation of others. Self-compassion (SC) is an alternative, more inclusive construct than self-esteem. We explored among 125 university students whether SC serves as a defense mechanism from abstract and concrete threats responses, utilizing a dot-probe task and mortality salience priming. Although SC was not associated with avoidance of abstract threats, it was associated with avoidance of concrete threats. These findings underscore the potential role of SC in coping with trauma and in shielding from developing post-traumatic symptoms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)639-646
Number of pages8
JournalDeath Studies
Issue number10
StatePublished - 26 Nov 2019

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© 2018, © 2018 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


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