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Predictors of self-compassion in endometriosis: the role of psychological health and endometriosis symptom burden


Van Niekerk, L and Johnstone, L and Matthewson, M, Predictors of self-compassion in endometriosis: the role of psychological health and endometriosis symptom burden, Human Reproduction pp. 1-10. ISSN 0268-1161 (2021) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2021 the authors.

DOI: doi:10.1093/humrep/deab257


STUDY QUESTION:What is the relationship between self-compassion, endometriosis-related symptoms and psychological health in women with symptomatic endometriosis?

SUMMARY ANSWER: Decreased self-compassion is associated with increased psychological distress, extended diagnostic delay and varies according to individual endometriosis-symptom profile.

WHAT IS KNOWN ALREADY: Existing research indicates that endometriosis is associated with reduced psychological health and varied endometriosis-related symptom profiles. Examining the level of self-compassion reported by women with endometriosis is important as greater self-compassion has been found to improve psychological well-being in several chronic health populations.

STUDY DESIGN, SIZE, DURATION: This study utilized a cross-sectional survey design to explore the relationship between selfcompassion, psychological health and endometriosis-related symptoms (n 318).

PARTICIPANTS/MATERIALS, SETTING, METHODS: Women with a self-reported diagnosis of endometriosis were recruited via online advertising through social media platforms. Demographic and endometriosis-specific information (e.g. disease stage, diagnostic delay, symptom experience) was collected in addition to psychological health and self-compassion. Psychological health was measured by the PROMIS Emotional Distress and Anxiety short forms and the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-15). Self-compassion was measured by the Self-Compassion Scale (26-item). Independent t-tests, bivariate correlations and linear regression analyses explored the relationship between specific endometriosis-related symptoms, psychological health and self-compassion.

MAIN RESULTS AND THE ROLE OF CHANCE: Hierarchical multiple regression indicated that psychological symptoms accounted for the greatest variance in levels of self-compassion in the current sample. Depression and anxiety were found to be significant negative predictors of self-compassion. Notable symptoms that were significant in the final model were the presence of dysmenorrhea, lower back pain, dyspareunia, pain after sexual intercourse, fatigue and nausea.

LIMITATIONS, REASONS FOR CAUTION: The cross-sectional nature of the findings prevents direct findings of causality. The information pertaining to endometriosis was self-report in nature and was not medically verified.

WIDER IMPLICATIONS OF THE FINDINGS: These preliminary findings indicate the importance of clinical interventions aimed at enhancing self-compassion and the importance of individual case conceptualization and treatment planning based on endometriosis-related symptomatic profiles.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:endometriosis, self-compassion, symptom burden, psychological wellbeing
Research Division:Psychology
Research Group:Clinical and health psychology
Research Field:Clinical psychology
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Clinical health
Objective Field:Human pain management
UTAS Author:Van Niekerk, L (Dr Leesa Van Niekerk)
UTAS Author:Johnstone, L (Miss Lucy Johnstone)
UTAS Author:Matthewson, M (Dr Mandy Matthewson)
ID Code:147917
Year Published:2021
Web of Science® Times Cited:3
Deposited By:Psychology
Deposited On:2021-11-24
Last Modified:2021-12-21

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