Trajectories of self-kindness, common humanity, and mindfulness during the COVID-19 pandemic: A person-oriented multi-trajectory approach

Robin Wollast, Éric Lacourse, Geneviève A. Mageau, Mathieu Pelletier-Dumas, Anna Dorfman, Véronique Dupéré, Jean Marc Lina, Dietlind Stolle, Roxane de la Sablonnière

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3 Scopus citations


The COVID-19 pandemic has produced unprecedented changes in the lives of many people. Although research has documented associations between concerns related to COVID-19 and poor mental health indicators, fewer studies have focused on positive factors that could help people better cope with this stressful social context. To fill this gap, the present research investigated the trajectories of self-compassion facets in times of dramatic social change. Using a longitudinal research design, we described the trajectories of self-kindness, common humanity, and mindfulness during the first eight months of the COVID-19 pandemic, in a representative sample of Canadian adults (N = 3617). Relying on a multi-trajectory group-based approach, we identified clusters of individuals following persistently low (4.0%), moderate-low (39.3%), moderate-high (46.7%), and high (10.0%) levels of self-kindness, common humanity, and mindfulness. Interestingly, we found that compassionate self-responding trajectories were mainly stable over time with minor fluctuations for some groups of individuals, in line with the epidemiological situation. In terms of covariates, we observed that older women were more likely to follow trajectories of high compassionate self-responding, as compared to the other age and gender groups. In terms of mental health indicators, we demonstrated that trajectory groups with high levels of compassionate self-responding were associated with greater life satisfaction, more happiness, better sleep quality, higher sleep quantity, and fewer negative emotions, as compared to lower trajectory groups. The results supported the idea that self-compassion during the COVID-19 pandemic could have favored better mental health indicators and could possibly be promoted as a psychological intervention in the general population.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0292522
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number12 December
StatePublished - Dec 2023

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© 2023 Wollast et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


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