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Fetal Androgen & Childhood Adversity: Relations with Self-Compassion, Compassion for Others, Empathy, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Susceptibility

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Fetal androgen exposure and childhood experiences are believed to contribute to the development and organization of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) and hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal (HPG) axes, which are responsible for the regulation and release of stress and sex hormones, respectively. Evidence suggests the

Fetal androgen exposure and childhood experiences are believed to contribute to the development and organization of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) and hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal (HPG) axes, which are responsible for the regulation and release of stress and sex hormones, respectively. Evidence suggests the HPA and HPG axes can couple in response to childhood adversity, and that hormonal dysregulation contributes to psychopathological disorders such as anxiety and depression. Recent research also suggests self-compassion interventions could reduce PTSD symptoms, and that the experience of childhood trauma is related to increased empathy. Still, little is known regarding the impact of fetal androgen exposure on PTSD susceptibility and the relationships between self-compassion, compassion for others, and empathy. The current study aims to determine whether fetal androgen exposure mitigates PTSD susceptibility, and to clarify the relationships between empathy, compassion for others, self-compassion, and PTSD symptoms. A sample of 208 adults completed an online survey designed to measure fetal androgen exposure, childhood maltreatment, self-compassion, compassion for others, empathy, and PTSD symptoms. Findings show a significant difference in PTSD symptoms between individuals in high and low fetal androgen exposure groups, and significant correlations were discovered between empathy and compassion for others, empathy and self-compassion, but not compassion for others and self-compassion. Future studies could explore the extent to which fetal androgen exposure influences PTSD symptom susceptibility and the clinical implications therein.

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2021-05

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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 in a kind and nonjudgmental way. Although theory and empirical

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