This research investigates the mediating role of self-compassion on the relation between religion/spirituality (R/S) and mental health. Self-compassion is hereby defined as a positive attitude toward the self, expressed as the tendency to be gentle, caring, and understanding toward oneself especially when faced with personal shortcomings or failures. The two-continua model of mental health, in which psychopathology and wellbeing are seen as two related but different dimensions of mental health. Two independent longitudinal studies are reported. Study 1 assessed 874 participants and Study 2 assessed 1,029 participants of the Dutchspeaking general population. A path analysis was conducted using Preacher and Hayes software to test a mediational model in both samples separately. The results of both studies showed that R/S was significantly associated with respectively less depression symptoms and less anxiety symptoms. Additionally, results showed that R/S was significantly positively related to well-being. More positive feelings and less anxiety toward God/the divine predicted more subsequent mental well-being and less depression and anxiety. Furthermore, the mediating effect of self-compassion on the relationship between R/S and depression/ anxiety symptoms was observed as well as the mediating effect of self-compassion on the relationship between R/S and well-being. To support mental health it seems to be the most optimal to focus on both R/S and self-compassion interventions within health care treatment programs.
- depression and anxiety
- mental health