The Role of Self-Compassion as a Buffer Against Negative Cognitive Appraisals and Coping Strategies Among Stalking Victims

Date of Award


Degree Name

M.A. in Clinical Psychology


Department of Psychology


Advisor: Catherine Lutz-Zois


The current study sought to understand the mediators and moderators of the relationship between stalking victimization and both trauma-related symptoms and depression. Research has suggested that stalking victimization may contribute to the development of depression (Mechanic, Uhlmansiek, Weaver, & Resick, 2000) and PTSD (Basile, Arias, Desai, & Thompson, 2004). What remains unclear are the mechanisms by which stalking victims might develop symptoms of psychological distress, as well as what factors might provide a buffering effect against negative psychological outcomes for stalking victims. Past research has suggested that numerous variables, such as self-blame, avoidant coping, event-specific attributions, and rumination, contribute to the development and maintenance of trauma-related symptoms and depression. In the current study, these variables were hypothesized to mediate the relationship between stalking victimization and both trauma-related symptoms and depression. Finally, self-compassion was expected to act as a moderator of the relationship between stalking victimization and the proposed mediators (i.e., avoidant coping, rumination, event-specific attributions, and self-blame). Participants were randomly assigned to either a self-compassion or special place condition to examine the effect of condition on a self-compassion measure. Before the manipulation, participants completed two measures assessing stalking victimization and Time 1 self-compassion. After the manipulation, they completed measures assessing demographics, the proposed mediators, the outcomes, and Time 2 self-compassion. The results failed to support either hypothesis, suggesting that the proposed model was incorrect. However, several limitations of the methodology used in the current study should be considered before drawing any final conclusions about the model.


Clinical Psychology, Stalking victimization, self-compassion, rumination, self-blame, avoidant coping, event-specific attributions

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Copyright © 2019, author