University of Twente Student Theses


The Effects of Self-Criticism on Psychological Distress and Well-being in Patients with Chronic Conditions : a questionnaire study

Stadtlander, K.L. (2021) The Effects of Self-Criticism on Psychological Distress and Well-being in Patients with Chronic Conditions : a questionnaire study.

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Abstract:Background: The negative consequences of self-criticism on psychological distress and well-being have been established in research. However, there are no studies that provide information about the correlations of the subdimensions of self-criticism on mental well-being and psychological distress in patients with various chronic conditions. Up to now, there are also no studies that examine the correlation between the subscales of self-criticism, namely shame, self-critical cognitions, guilt, and harshness, and the variables age, visibility of the illness, and social media usage. It is important to know the various ways in which patients engage in self-criticism and which factors might make them more at-risk for behaving self-critically to facilitate intervention development and clinical practice. Aim: The study at hand aims to apply the newly developed Self-Compassion and Self-Criticism Scale for Patients with Chronic and Life-Threatening Physical Conditions (SCCC), to gain insight into the relation of the subscales of self-criticism and mental well-being, as well as psychological distress. Further, the study aims to identify possible at-risk factors which may enhance self-criticism in patients with chronic diseases. Method: A quantitative cross-sectional online survey was conducted in a sample of patients affected by one or multiple chronic conditions (n=167). The participants had a mean age of 47 (SD=12.3) and all of them were German. For the survey, the SCCC was used to measure self-criticism, the Mental Health Continuum Short Form (MHC-SF) measures mental well-being, and the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9) was used to measure psychological distress. A self-developed questionnaire was used to measure social media usage, age, and visibility of the illness. To answer the research questions, multiple Pearson correlation analyses were performed. Results: The results of the correlation analyses revealed a positive association (p<0.01) between self-criticism (total score) and psychological distress (r=.75), and mental well-being (r=.57). No correlation was found between the variables self-criticism and age. Self-criticism was significantly positively associated with visibility of the condition (r=.16) and negatively with social media usage (r=.34). Conclusion: The current study provides novel evidence about the occurrence of the subscales of self-criticism and how these are related to psychological distress and well-being. A possible at-risk group for engaging in more self-criticism is patients with a visible manifestation of their illness. Interestingly, in the present study higher social media usage was associated with lower self-criticism.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology BSc (56604)
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