Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Self-compassion, which originally emerged from centuries-old Buddhist philosophy, is a construct that has become incorporated into psychological research in an effort to improve emotional well-being of individuals. Aspects of how we judge ourselves, criticize our flaws, and react to our failures are all considered in respect to an individual’s level of self-compassion (Neff, 2011). Further, self-compassion also appears to be associated with lower levels of anxiety and positively related to various personality traits. The Big Five Personality test is a widely used measures for describing personality characteristics of Extraversion, Openness to Experience, Neuroticism, Agreeableness, and Conscientiousness (Costa & McCrae, 1985). Research has shown positive correlations with self-compassion and individuals possessing most of these personality traits, except for Neuroticism (Neff et al., 2007). Previous research suggests that self-compassion activities may reduce anxiety in individuals, however, there are few studies exploring this effect among individuals with traits of neuroticism (Leary et al, 2007). The present study attempted to first induce anxiety in participants using a self-guided vignette describing academic failure. Participants were randomly assigned into one of three conditions (i.e., self-compassion, mindfulness, and control) to examine whether brief self-compassion and mindfulness exercises would reduce levels of anxiety and negative emotions in individuals with higher levels of neuroticism. Results showed individuals with high levels of neuroticism had significantly lower levels of self-compassion. There were no significant changes in anxiety after the self-compassion exercise or mindfulness exercise were analyzed separately, however, there was a significant interaction when the mindfulness and self-compassion groups were combined and compared to the control. There were no interactions of neuroticism by the condition.