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A 12-month longitudinal study examining the shared and unique contributions of self-compassion and psychological inflexibility to distress and quality of life in people with Type 2 Diabetes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Article number110728
JournalJournal of Psychosomatic Research
Early online date29 Jan 2022
E-pub ahead of print29 Jan 2022
PublishedApr 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information: This project represents independent research funded by the Ministry of National Education Turkey. Publisher Copyright: © 2022 Elsevier Inc.

King's Authors


Objectives: Self-compassion and psychological flexibility appear to benefit wellbeing and quality of life (QoL) in the general population and in people with long-term conditions like Type 2 Diabetes (T2D). However, both variables share similarities and their unique roles in relation to distress and QoL in people with diabetes over time are not clear. Design: This was a longitudinal study with online assessments of self-compassion, psychological inflexibility, distress (depression, anxiety, diabetes-distress), and QoL at baseline (T1) and six (T2) and 12 months (T3). Methods: In total, 173 UK adults with T2D completed baseline questionnaires; T2 and T3 follow-ups were completed by 82 and 52 participants, respectively. Correlations were conducted to understand the relationships between variables at each time point. Hierarchical regressions were conducted to understand the unique predictive role of baseline self-compassion and psychological inflexibility in relation to distress and QoL at T2 and T3, controlling for age and baseline distress and QoL. Results: There were large significant negative correlations between self-compassion and psychological inflexibility (r > −0.50), and both had significant large correlations with distress (r > −0.50) but not QoL across time points. Regressions indicated that psychological inflexibility uniquely predicted depression (T2) and anxiety symptoms (T2 and T3) and QoL (T3). Self-compassion did not uniquely predict any of the outcomes. Conclusions: Psychological inflexibility may play an important role in distress in T2D, but prospective studies with larger samples are needed to replicate these findings. Given the overlap between psychological inflexibility and self-compassion, treatments targeting either variable may be useful.

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