U.S. combat veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars have elevated rates of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) compared to the general population. Self‐compassion, characterized by self‐kindness, a sense of common humanity when faced with suffering, and mindful awareness of suffering, is a potentially modifiable factor implicated in the development and maintenance of PTSD. We examined the concurrent and prospective relationship between self‐compassion and PTSD symptom severity after accounting for level of combat exposure and baseline PTSD severity in 115 Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans exposed to 1 or more traumatic events during deployment. PTSD symptoms were assessed using the Clinician Administered PTSD Scale for DSM‐IV (CAPS‐IV) at baseline and 12 months (n =101). Self‐compassion and combat exposure were assessed at baseline via self‐report. Self‐compassion was associated with baseline PTSD symptoms after accounting for combat exposure (β = −.59; p < .001; ΔR2 = .34; f2 = .67; large effect) and predicted 12‐month PTSD symptom severity after accounting for combat exposure and baseline PTSD severity (β = −.24; p = .008; ΔR2 = .03; f2 = .08; small effect). Findings suggest that interventions that increase self‐compassion may be beneficial for treating chronic PTSD symptoms among some Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans.
Hiraoka, R., Meyer, E. C., Kimbrel, N. A., DeBeer, B. B., Gulliver, S. B., & Morissette, S. B. (2015). Self‐compassion as a prospective predictor of PTSD symptom severity among trauma‐exposed US Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 28(2), 127-133.