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Self-compassion and mindfulness and their relationship to mental health in older people

By Sarah Farquhar


The western world has a rapidly aging population. Depression and anxiety in combination with physical health problems are common and approaches are required to help people successfully negotiate the challenges of aging. This volume explores the contribution made by the concepts of self-compassion and mindfulness, considering the role they may play in helping us understand vulnerability to later life mental health problems and in psychological interventions for older people.\ud Chapter I provides a critique of the research on mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) with older people, considering their acceptability, accessibility and usefulness. The reviewed literature comprises a small evidence-base, with many methodological weaknesses. However, it suggests MBI’s show promise in terms of effectiveness and accessibility as psychological approaches for older people. Directions for future research are discussed.\ud Chapter II describes an empirical investigation into the relationships between self-compassion, and depression and anxiety in older people, comparing clinical and community samples. Levels of self-compassion were found to be lower in the clinical sample and associated with higher levels of depression and anxiety. The component aspects of self-compassion were also considered separately and the research is discussed in the context of the growing evidence-base. Implications for mental health service provision and future research are considered.\ud Chapter III presents the author’s reflections on her own and participants’ reactions to the concept of self-compassion. This includes consideration of the influence of cultural and cohort factors

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