Increasing Self-Compassion May Reduce Anger and Depression Symptoms

What do anger, self-compassion, and depression have in common? According to results from a recent study, quite a lot. Michela Balsamo of the Department of Psychological Sciences at Annunzio University in Italy, self-compassion is strongly linked to depression in people with trait anger. Balsamo assessed 230 Italian college students for levels of trait anger, depression, and temperament in order to find out if temperament and self-compassion influenced depressive symptoms in those prone to anger. The basis for this research was the fact that recently, anger management skills have been used for treating depression because some studies have shown a clear link between trait anger and depression. More specifically, some existing research has suggested that people who are easily angered may internalize their frustration and anger, resulting in depressive symptoms. However, understanding the path from anger to depression, and whether or not targeting anger independently is effective, has not been fully explored in the available body of research.

Therefore, Balsamo examined these elements in the Italian sample and found that self-compassion was the missing link. Individuals who were high in trait anger had little self-compassion and little tolerance for others. So when they felt frustrated with others or with themselves, they would react in anger by turning their emotions inward and outwardly exhibiting symptoms of depression. Balsamo believes that this finding shows that self-compassion and self-tolerance are unique internal components that could be addressed in therapy. By teaching people skills to increase self-compassion and tolerance, they would be better able to manage their anger. This would result in less internalizing of emotions and decreased symptoms of depression.

Self-compassion is also viewed as cooperativeness, a necessary ingredient for interpersonal interactions and therapeutic gain. When cooperativeness is low, agitation and internalizing is high. Targeting cooperativeness via self-compassion could reduce the negative reactions of people with anger and allow more positive reactions to develop. In sum, Balsamo hopes that these results will influence current therapeutic approaches for people with anger and depression. “Clinicians focusing on self-compassion may gain greater efficacy when they incorporate these aspects within their interventions for clinical depression,” added Balsamo.

Reference:
Balsamo, Michela. (2013). Personality and depression: Evidence of a possible mediating role for anger trait in the relationship between cooperativeness and depression. Comprehensive Psychiatry 54.1 (2013): 46-52. ProQuest. Web.

© Copyright 2013 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved.

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

  • 4 comments
  • Leave a Comment
  • Sandra c

    Sandra c

    April 2nd, 2013 at 6:57 AM

    It is always nice to be able to have that feeling of not being so down on yourself, but instead looking at the positive things that you have to offer to others and to the world. When one views yourself through that kind of lens, it makes you see just how important you are to other people and why you too deserve to be treated with care and respect. Too many times we only focus on the bad and never on the good things that we have to offer.

  • Mel

    Mel

    April 2nd, 2013 at 10:25 PM

    I have to agree with what is said here. Because there have been times when I have been less than compassionate to myself and that has resulted in frustration and in turn anger. I am glad it does not happen often but would be great if I can somehow use this knowledge to better control my anger and make peace with not only myself but also with those around me.

  • BEVERLY ROBINSON

    BEVERLY ROBINSON

    April 3rd, 2013 at 12:06 PM

    I AM DEPRESSED AND WANT TO FIND A GOOD THERAPIST THROUGH MY DOCTOR’S ORDERS. I AM ON DEPLIN, CELEXA, AND XANAX AND CAN’T GET BETTER. ANY ADVICE WOULD BE APPRECIATED. THANKS

  • admin2

    admin2

    April 3rd, 2013 at 5:19 PM

    Hi Beverly,
    Thank you for your comment. You can search for a therapist and indicate that you are looking for someone to help with depression, by using our advanced therapist search here: https://www.goodtherapy.org/advanced-search.html
    Best of luck and warm wishes,
    GT Admin

Leave a Comment

By commenting you acknowledge acceptance of GoodTherapy.org's Terms and Conditions of Use.

* Indicates required field.

GoodTherapy uses cookies to personalize content and ads to provide better services for our users and to analyze our traffic. By continuing to use this site you consent to our cookies.