Thesis

Links among life events, positive parenting behavior, and compassion

While there is a positive relationship between self-compassion and compassion toward others (Crocker & Canevello, 2008; Gilbert, McEwan, Matos, & Rivis, 2011), the extent of the relationship between the two variables has not often been investigated. Researchers have identified stressful life events and parenting behaviors as possible predictors of compassionate outcomes throughout development (Kelly & Dupasquier, 2016; Satici, Uysal, & Akin, 2015). A total of 266 (83.70% female) undergraduates (Mage = 23.62, SDage- 5.167) participated in an online study. Participants were asked to complete selfreport surveys specific to measuring stressful life events, recent experiences with positive parenting behaviors, and levels of compassion. It was predicted that positive parenting behaviors would mediate the relationship between stressful life events and compassionate outcomes. Replicating previous work and in support of the hypotheses, there was a positive relationship between compassion toward others and self-compassion, and compassion toward others and stressful life events were also positively correlated. Additionally, self-compassion was inversely correlated with stressful life events reported at 3 months and 12 months while the relationship between life events experienced at least once showed a positive association. The proposed mediation was partially supported such that the relationship between stressful life events at 12 months and compassionate outcomes was mediated by positive parenting behaviors. Specifically, more reports of positive parenting behavior from students who experienced higher rates of recent stressful life events were indicative of higher levels of compassion reported within the sample. Findings from this study provide implications for developmental interventions focused on expanding the capacity for compassion across the lifespan.

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