Childhood trauma exposure, age and self-compassion as predictors of later-life symptoms of depression and anxiety in an American Indian sample

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Date

2023

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Journal ISSN

Volume Title

Publisher

Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Letters & Science

Abstract

Past research has established a relationship between childhood trauma and later-life anxiety and depression symptoms in American Indian samples. However, less is known about protective factors that may reduce the strength of this relationship. The purpose of the present study was to assess self-compassion as a protective factor with an emphasis on age as additional potential moderator. Seven hundred and twenty-nine self-identifying American Indian participants completed self-report measures pertaining to this question online via Qualtrics. The hypotheses were such that self-compassion would be protective against later-life anxiety and depression symptoms at all age points (Hypothesis 1), that the interaction between self-compassion and childhood trauma exposure would be statistically significant for those higher in trauma but not lower (Hypothesis 2) and that there would be a three-way interaction among self-compassion, age and childhood trauma exposure, such that age would moderate the interaction between childhood trauma exposure and self-compassion in predicting symptoms of anxiety and depression (Hypothesis 3). Regression analyses found support for Hypothesis 1, indicating that self-compassion is protective against anxiety and depression symptoms in this sample. Support for Hypothesis 2 was not found, as the interaction between self-compassion and childhood trauma exposure did not significantly predict anxiety or depression symptoms. Hypothesis 3 was supported in that the three-way interaction significantly predicted both later-life anxiety and depression symptoms, such that older participants who reported high levels of self-compassion tended to have the lowest symptoms. These findings indicate that self-compassion may have age dependent effects in moderating the relationship between childhood trauma exposure and later-life symptoms of anxiety and depression in American Indian samples.

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Keywords

Adverse childhood experiences (ACE)

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