Research: Self-Compassion Applied to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB)
Does self-compassion buffer against the adverse effects of racial discrimination and is it protective among sexual-and gender-minority adolescents across racial groups? These are questions researchers have set out to answer in the articles below.
Self-compassion appears to be a resource for people experiencing racial discrimination or any other form of injustice due to their race, gender identity or sexual orientation to draw on to support their own wellbeing. Tender self-compassion can provide resilience when dealing with the emotional trauma caused by discrimination and fierce self-compassion can provide the sense of empowerment needed to fight discrimination. It should always be remembered that discrimination happens at a systemic level, and that compassion must be harnessed at the individual and societal to enact change.
Self-compassion and Social Connectedness Buffering Racial Discrimination on Depression Among Asian Americans.
By Liu et al. (2020)
This study examined the role of three elements of self-compassion as measured by the Self-Compassion Scale (self-kindness, common humanity, and mindfulness) as resources that can buffer against the impact of racial discrimination on depression. The study also examined the role of social connectedness as a buffer. Previous studies have shown racial discrimination to have negative mental health outcomes among racial/ethnic minorities in the US. The results of this study showed that when both self-kindness and social connectedness were present, they together buffered against the impact of racial discrimination on depression among Asian American college students. (Note that in prior research the primary link between self-compassion and depression has been found to be the reduced self-judgment, isolation and overidentification associated with this mindset, so this study was limited in its ability to assess the link between self-compassion, racial discrimination and depression.) Read the article here.
Is Self-compassion Protective Among Sexual-and Sender-minority Adolescents Across Racial Groups?
By Vigna, Poehlmann-Tynan, & Koenig, (2020)
This study examines the impact of self-compassion (as measured by a total score on the Self-Compassion Scale) on stress, anxiety, depression, and suicidality among sexual- and/or gender-minority youth. This group of youth often experience suicidality, depression, and anxiety that are two to three times greater than those of their sexual- and gender-majority peers. In prior research, the authors have shown that higher levels of self-compassion are linked to fewer adverse effects of victimization on mental health. In the current study the authors set out to examine if there were any differences in the effectiveness of self-compassion as a buffer across racial groups among sexual- and/or gender-minority youth. The study found that white youth reported higher rates of peer victimization and anxiety whereas black youth reported higher rates of bias-based bullying and structural discrimination. The study did, however, not find any difference in the effects of self-compassion as a buffer against victimization across racial groups. In the study, all identity groups experienced lower rates of mental health concerns when they reported higher levels of self-compassion. Read the article here.
Racial Discrimination, Self-compassion, and Mental Health: the Moderating Role of Self-judgment
By Browne et al. (2022)
This study attempted to examine whether the various elements of self-compassion as measured by the Self-Compassion Scale (self-kindness, mindfulness, common humanity, self-judgment, over-identification, and isolation) differentially buffered against, or exacerbated, negative mental health outcomes in Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) college students experiencing racial discrimination. 100 college students from diverse ethnic backgrounds participated in this study. To measure mental health outcomes this study used The Brief Symptom Inventory, which consists of 18 self-reported items intended to screen for psychiatric disorders and psychological distress, consisting of three 6-item subscales: somatization, depression, and anxiety. The results showed that experience of discrimination with both somatic and anxiety symptoms was stronger for individuals who endorsed higher self-judgment. The study also showed that common humanity reduced symptoms of anxiety, depression, and somatic symptoms and that self-kindness reduced symptoms of depression and somatic symptoms. Read the article here.
Browne, R. K., Duarte, B. A., Miller, A. N., Schwartz, S. E., & LoPresti, J. (2022). Racial Discrimination, Self-compassion, and Mental Health: the Moderating Role of Self-judgment. Mindfulness, 13(8), 1994-2006.
Liu, S., Li, C. I., Wang, C., Wei, M., & Ko, S. (2020). Self-compassion and social connectedness buffering racial discrimination on depression among Asian Americans. Mindfulness, 11(3), 672-682.
Vigna, A. J., Poehlmann-Tynan, J., & Koenig, B. W. (2020). Is self-compassion protective among sexual-and gender-minority adolescents across racial groups?. Mindfulness, 11(3), 800-815.
Cultivation a Multicultural Lens in the Compassion Classroom
8-Week Course on DEIB in the Classroom
Mondays October 31st – December 19th, 2022, 9 AM – 11 AM PT
This is a Live Online Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) course for mindfulness and compassion teachers. Come develop your anti-oppressive lens, learn ways to help co-create a more welcoming and inclusive experience for your participants, and advance more skillful responses when cross-cultural issues, challenges, microaggressions, and communication ruptures arise in teaching mindfulness and compassion.
Led by CMSC Director of DEIB and certified MSC Teacher Sydney Spears and Tracy Ochester, Coordinator of Midwest Alliance of Mindfulness and Certified MBCT Teacher, with guest presenters Mel Wraight, Michael Yellow Bird, Kristin Neff, Chris Germer, and Mushim Patricia Ikeda. Optional 15-20 minute post-session discussion and/or Q&A after each class.