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Relation between family strain and depressive symptoms in middle-aged adults: the moderating effect of self-compassion

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Interpersonal strain is linked with depressive symptoms in middle-aged adults. Self-compassion is an emerging resilience construct that may be advantageous in navigating relationship strain by helping individuals respond to emotions

Interpersonal strain is linked with depressive symptoms in middle-aged adults. Self-compassion is an emerging resilience construct that may be advantageous in navigating relationship strain by helping individuals respond to emotions in a kind and nonjudgmental way. Although theory and empirical evidence suggests that self-compassion is protective against the impact of stress on mental health outcomes, many studies have not investigated how self-compassion operates in the context of relationship strain. In addition, few studies have examined psychological or physiological mechanisms by which self-compassion protects against mental health outcomes, depression in particular. Thus, this study examined 1) the extent to which trait self-compassion buffers the relation between family strain and depressive symptoms, and 2) whether these buffering effects are mediated by hope and inflammatory processes (IL-6) in a sample of 762 middle-aged, community-dwelling adults. Results from structural equation models indicated that family strain was unrelated to depressive symptoms and the relation was not moderated by self-compassion. Hope, but not IL-6, mediated the relation between family strain and depressive symptoms and the indirect effect was not conditional on levels of self-compassion. Taken together, the findings suggest that family strain may lead individuals to experience less hope and subsequent increases in depressive symptoms, and further, that a self-compassionate attitude does not affect this relation. Implications for future self-compassion interventions are discussed.

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  • 2019

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Bouncing back from recent adversity: the role of the community environment in promoting resilience in midlife

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Lifespan psychological perspectives have long suggested the context in which individuals live having the potential to shape the course of development across the adult lifespan. Thus, it is imperative to

Lifespan psychological perspectives have long suggested the context in which individuals live having the potential to shape the course of development across the adult lifespan. Thus, it is imperative to examine the role of both the objective and subjective neighborhood context in mitigating the consequences of lifetime adversity on mental and physical health. To address the research questions, data was used from a sample of 362 individuals in midlife who were assessed on lifetime adversity, multiple outcomes of mental and physical health and aspects of the objective and subjective neighborhood. Results showed that reporting more lifetime adversity was associated with poorer mental and physical health. Aspects of the objective and subjective neighborhood, such as green spaces moderated these relationships. The discussion focuses on potential mechanisms underlying why objective and subjective indicators of the neighborhood are protective against lifetime adversity.

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  • 2019