Publication date: Jan 18, 2024
The CoronaVirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic can be conceptualized as a trauma that created additional unique stressors for parents. Self-compassion might promote posttraumatic growth (PTG); however, parents with histories of childhood emotional neglect may struggle to practice self-compassion when their own affectional needs were unmet earlier in life, carrying implications for both parental and child well-being. The objective is to examine the relationship between childhood emotional neglect and pandemic-related PTG, and the moderating role of self-compassion. An online cross-sectional survey collected information from 436 parents (M = 37. 62 years, SD = 9. 31) across the U. S. on pandemic- and parenting-related stresses, childhood emotional neglect, self-compassionate behavior, psychological distress, and pandemic-related PTG. Multiple regression analyses were conducted to analyze relationships among childhood emotional neglect, self-compassionate behavior, and pandemic-related PTG. Parents who reported greater frequency of self-compassionate behavior tended to report higher pandemic-related PTG. Childhood emotional neglect alone did not predict pandemic-related PTG; however, for parents who reported less frequent self-compassionate behavior, greater childhood emotional neglect predicted lower pandemic-related PTG. The cross-sectional design and sample homogeneity limit both causal inference and generalizability. Limitations in operationalization of PTG and self-compassion constructs are discussed. Findings emphasize the utility of self-compassionate behavior in promoting pandemic-related PTG, especially for adults with histories of childhood emotional neglect. Self-compassion is a freely accessible practice that individuals can implement successfully with minimal instruction. In terms of clinical relevance, therapists may be able to identify points of intervention wherein self-compassion may stimulate pandemic-related PTG.
|Childhood emotional neglect