Working on self-compassion online: A proof of concept and feasibility study

Krieger, Tobias; Martig, Dominik Sander; van den Brink, Erik; Berger, Thomas (2016). Working on self-compassion online: A proof of concept and feasibility study. Internet Interventions, 6, pp. 64-70. Elsevier 10.1016/j.invent.2016.10.001

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Objectives: Low self-compassion has repeatedly been associated with psychopathology. There are many promising face-to-face group format interventions focusing on self-compassion. We investigated the feasibility of an online self-compassion program. Design: A feasibility and proof-of-concept study of an online adapted Mindfulness-based Compassionate Living (MBCL) program. Participants: Self-referred participants suffering from harsh self-criticism (N = 39) were offered an online program and were asked to complete outcome measures at baseline, after 8 weeks (post-intervention) and after 14 weeks (follow-up). Intervention: The online program consisted of seven sessions, including a first session introducing mindfulness and mindfulness meditation followed by a six-session adaptation of the MBCL program. Primary and secondary outcome measures: The Self-Compassion Scale (SCS) was the primary outcome measure. Secondary outcome measures were the Forms of Self-criticizing/Attacking and Self-reassuring Scale (FSCRS), the Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS), the Comprehensive Inventory of Mindfulness Experience (CHIME), the Fear of Self-compassion (FSC), and the Perceived Stress Questionnaire (PSQ). Additionally, we assessed satisfaction with the program and negative effects related to the program. Furthermore, we used several measures of program usage (number of processed modules, number of logins, time spent in the program, number of diary entries, number of entries in completed exercises). Results: Self-compassion, mindfulness, reassuring-self and satisfaction with life significantly increased whereas inadequate self, hated self, perceived stress and fear of self-compassion significantly decreased from pre- to the 8-week assessment. Results remained stable from post- to the 6-week follow-up. Pre-to-post within-effect sizes were medium to large (ds = 0.50–1.50) and comparable to those found within a face-to-face group format in a similar sample. Time spent in the program significantly predicted self-compassion at post. Conclusions: The results of this pilot study are promising. However, they must be seen as preliminary since replication in a randomized controlled trial, with clinical measures/diagnoses and a longer follow-up period, is necessary.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Psychology > Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy
07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Psychology

UniBE Contributor:

Krieger, Tobias and Berger, Thomas


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health
100 Philosophy > 150 Psychology






[4] Swiss National Science Foundation




Thomas Berger

Date Deposited:

29 May 2017 11:58

Last Modified:

29 May 2017 12:08

Publisher DOI:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Self-compassion; Self-criticism; Mindfulness; Online intervention




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