Child abuse and wellbeing: Examining the roles of self-compassion and fear of self

Sharon Collins, Tayla Orth, Robyn Brunton, Rachel Dryer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
59 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Introduction: Childhood abuse is linked to poorer well-being, yet some survivors show no prolonged effect, suggesting multifinality. Men and women also differ in the experience and sequelae of abuse supporting gender-specific analyses. To assist in circumventing poor outcomes associated with child abuse, this study examined fear of self (FoS) and self-compassion (SC) as risk and protective factors between child abuse and well-being.
Method: Australian women (N = 1302, Mage = 47.28 [13.63]) completed an online assessment of childhood abuse, psychological distress, perceived quality of life, SC, FoS. Moderated-moderation examined the different abuses as predictors of psychological distress and quality of life (QoL) and FoS and SC as primary and secondary moderators, respectively.
Results: Physical abuse did not predict psychological distress or QoL. FoS and SC were independent predictors of distress and QoL. Similarly, childhood sexual abuse was not found to predict distress or QoL. FoS and SC were independent predictors of distress and QoL. There was also an interaction between childhood sexual abuse and SC in predicting QoL. A moderated-moderation was found for the relationship between child sexual abuse and distress. Psychological abuse predicted distress and QoL, and FoS and SC both moderated this relationship. Moreover, a moderated-moderation was observed for the relationship between psychological abuse and QoL.
Conclusions: Greater FoS is associated with poorer outcomes for child abuse survivors; SC may mitigate this impact. Psychological abuse was the strongest predictor of well-being. Interventions that increase SC and raise awareness of psychological abuse and its impacts are needed.
Original languageEnglish
Article number106089
Number of pages13
JournalChild Abuse and Neglect
Volume138
Early online dateFeb 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2023

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