Predicting psychological distress in an at-risk youth sample: is self-compassion a mediating variable?

Quinlan, Heather M. (2016) Predicting psychological distress in an at-risk youth sample: is self-compassion a mediating variable? Doctoral (PhD) thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Evidence of psychological distress among at-risk youth has been well documented. Although research has focused on risk factors for homelessness, little research has examined predictors of psychological distress. There has been very little research on attachment in at-risk youth samples, and no research on self-compassion in these samples exists. It is important to understand factors that predict psychological distress in this population in order to develop targeted interventions, supports, and programming. The present study examined the predictors of psychological distress (attachment anxiety, attachment avoidance, childhood maltreatment, self-compassion) in an at-risk youth sample. Data were collected from 51 youth (31 males, 20 females) aged 17-24, recruited from a community organization providing support and services to at-risk youth in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador. Results revealed that the youth sample had significantly lower levels of self-compassion than a published sample of college students of a similar age. After controlling for sex, childhood maltreatment and attachment anxiety predicted psychological distress over and above other variables. Self-compassion and attachment avoidance did not account for any additional variance in predicting psychological distress. Self-compassion did not mediate the relationship between childhood maltreatment and psychological distress, nor did it mediate the relationship between attachment orientation (attachment anxiety and attachment avoidance) and psychological distress. Implications of the present study findings are discussed, as well as study strengths, limitations, and suggestions for future research.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral (PhD))
Item ID: 12537
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (pages 81-99).
Keywords: at-risk youth, psychological distress, self-compassion, attachment, childhood maltreatment
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Psychology
Science, Faculty of > Psychology
Date: October 2016
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Problem youth; Distress (Psychology); Self-perception in adolescence

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