Joyce Cha

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)


Graduate Department of Clinical Psychology

First Advisor

Celeste Flachsbart, PsyD, ABPP

Second Advisor

Brooke Kuhnhausen,PhD

Third Advisor

Elizabeth Hamilton, PhD


Increasing attention is given to third-wave cognitive-behavioral concepts such as selfcompassion. This study seeks to explore the impact of self-compassion on conflict resolution in marital relationships. While recent research highlights the influence of self-compassion on relationship satisfaction as a whole, little exploration has been done on the impact of selfcompassion on relational conflict, a significant component of marital relationships or the impact of the bi-directional impact relationship satisfaction has on levels of self-compassion.

The goal of this study was to understand the relationship between levels of selfcompassion and conflict processes in married couples. It was hypothesized that levels of selfcompassion were related to approaches to conflict, that self- and observer-report self-compassion are related, and that there were differences in approaches to conflict for individuals with low versus high levels of self-compassion. Participants (N = 53 couples) were given 3 measures: the Self-Compassion Scale, the partner version of the Self-Compassion Scale, and the Kansas Marital Conflict Scale (KMCS), a measure that looks at conflict processes.

This study found a significantly strong positive relationship between levels of selfcompassion and perceived levels of self-compassion in partners. This serves to explain that individuals with higher levels of self-compassion were also perceived to have higher levels of self-compassion by their partners. However, there was more variance in partner-reports of selfcompassion in comparison with self-reports of self-compassion. This suggests that individuals were more likely to report themselves as having more self-compassion than when rating their partner’s level of self-compassion.