Self-compassion as a moderator of the association between COVID-19 stressors and psychological symptoms: A longitudinal study

Shian-Ling Keng, Emily Zhen Ning Hwang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in adverse psychological outcomes for many around the globe. Less is known however regarding dispositional traits that may protect against negative psychological outcomes. This study examined the prospective association between COVID-19 stressors and psychological symptoms, and whether self-compassion (referring to a dispositional tendency of relating to oneself kindly) would moderate this association. A convenience sample of 212 university students and working adults (60.4% female; Mage = 20.92 years) based in Singapore completed measures assessing COVID-19 stressors (perceived COVID-19 health risk, economic impact, and impact on daily life), psychological symptoms (depression, anxiety, and PTSD symptoms), and self-compassion 2 months apart. Results indicated that perceived COVID-19 health risk at baseline predicted anxiety symptoms 2 months later, above and beyond baseline anxiety symptoms. Self-compassion moderated the association between perceived COVID-19 health risk and depressive symptoms, and the relationship between perceived impact on daily life and anxiety symptoms. These findings highlight the importance of self-compassion in alleviating psychological symptoms in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)263-274
Number of pages12
JournalBehaviour Change
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


  • anxiety
  • COVID-19
  • depression
  • self-compassion

Cite this