Objectives: The experience of depression among sexual minority adults is a cause for concern. Research into protective factors is lacking. Self-compassion is considered to promote adaptive coping strategies and is associated with fewer depressive symptoms. The aim of this study was to investigate whether self-compassion and its components were associated with depressive symptoms among sexual minority adults and whether these relations were moderated by gender.
Methods: A sample of 499 sexual minority women aged 18 to 77 years (M = 29.45, SD = 9.97) and 457 sexual minority men aged 18 to 79 years (M = 27.05, SD = 9.12) completed the Center for Epidemiology-Depression Scale and the Self-Compassion Scale.
Results: Higher levels of self-compassion, self-kindness, common humanity, and mindfulness and lower levels of self-judgement, isolation, and over-identification were associated with lower levels of depressive symptoms. When all six components were entered simultaneously into a regression model, only the negative components predicted levels of depressive symptoms. Gender moderated the common humanity-depressive symptoms relation, with this relation being stronger for women than men.
Conclusions: Results indicate that the negative components of self-compassion are associated with depressive symptoms among sexual minority adults and that the strength of the relations are not conditional on gender.