Research unanimously shows self-compassion contributes to adolescents’ psychological well-being, but to what extent does self-compassion influence other-oriented behaviors? What interpersonal benefits might self-compassion contribute to? In this study Yang et al. (2021) explores the effects of self-compassion on gratitude and prosocial behavior.
Can Self-compassion Promote Gratitude and Prosocial Behavior in Adolescents? (Yang et al., 2021)
In this study, Yang et al. (2021) examines the effects self-compassion has on other oriented behavior, specifically on gratitude and prosocial behavior. Over a period of three years, 1,026 Chinese adolescents were surveyed once a year to examine the relationship between self-compassion, gratitude, and prosocial behavior.
Prosocial behavior refers to action undertaken to benefit other people, and gratitude, in this study, refers to the positive perception of having benefited from other people’s actions. The authors explain that both gratitude and prosocial behavior can help adolescents in building social relationships.
The adolescents participating in this study were from five different middle schools in China. This group of adolescents were surveyed over three consecutive years, when they were in 7th grade, 8th grade and 9th grade. The results of this study showed that the more self-compassionate the adolescents were, the more prosocial and grateful they were. This study thus enriches our understanding of the adaptive functions of self-compassion for adolescents’ social development.
The results from this study are in line with previous research that has examined the effects of self-compassion on other-oriented behavior such as compassion, perspective taking, empathetic concern toward others, altruism and intention to help (e.g., Neff and Pommier 2013; Yang et al. 2019).
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