Be Gentle with Yourself: The Impact of Self-Compassion on Fear of Evaluation in Social Anxiety

Project Abstract

Self-compassion entails showing oneself kindness instead of judgement, recognizing one’s experiences to be part of a shared human experience instead of isolating oneself, and being mindfully aware of painful thoughts and feelings instead of over-identifying with them (Neff, 2003). The process enjoys considerable conceptual overlap with facets of the psychological flexibility model (e.g., selfing; Hayes et al., 2012). Self-compassion has been explored in a variety of areas, one area being social anxiety; Harwood and Kocovski (2017) found that those higher in social anxiety who completed a self-compassion writing exercise experienced less anticipatory anxiety before a social stressor. The present study aims to replicate and extend these findings. Fear of negative evaluation is recognized as an integral feature of social anxiety disorder (APA, 2013), and fear of positive evaluation has also been linked to social anxiety disorder (Heimberg et al., 2014). Both fear of negative evaluation and fear of positive evaluation have displayed negative correlations with self-compassion (Long & Neff, 2018; Werner et al., 2012). The present study randomized participants to a self-compassion or control writing exercise to explore the interactive role of self-compassion and fear of evaluation experienced before a social stressor. We hypothesized that self-compassion writing will reduce fear of negative and positive evaluation for those higher in social anxiety. Data collection with undergraduate participants is in progress. Future research directions and implications for the use of self-compassion exercises before socially anxious individuals are exposed to social stressors will be discussed.


Conference: Association for Contextual Behavioral Science Virtual World Conference

Dates: June 24-27, 2021

Sponsoring body: Association for Contextual Behavioral Science

Conference website:

Funding Type

Travel Grant

Academic College

College of Humanities and Fine Arts


Psychology/Applied Behavior Analysis


Bachelor of Science




Michael Bordieri, PhD.

Academic College

College of Humanities and Fine Arts

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