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UPDATE: Low Self-Compassion
and Eating Disorders

Reprinted from Eating Disorders Review
July/August 2012 Volume 23, Number 4
©2012 Gürze Books

Researchers in British Columbia are exploring the possibility that healthy self-compassion can play a helpful role among people with eating disorders. Dr. Josie Geller and her colleagues at the University of British Columbia and St. Paul's Hospital, Vancouver, reported at the recent International Conference on Eating Disorders meeting in Austin, TX, that 80% of participants in the researchers' ongoing study have low self-compassion, and the remaining 20% have scored in the moderate range. As the researchers suspected, global and subscale self-compassion scores (derived from the Self-Compassion Scale and other measures of disordered psychological health, along with demographic information) strongly and significantly correlated with eating disorder symptoms such as drive for thinness and body dissatisfaction. The preliminary results also could be correlated with other intrapersonal characteristics, including perfectionism, impulse regulation, maturity fears, and introspective awareness. Dr. Geller told the audience that these preliminary findings support the role that low self-compassion may play in the development and maintenance of shape and weight concerns, as well as disordered eating and maladaptive coping. Thus far, 70 patients have been enrolled in the study.

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