Self-compassion is an important emotion regulation strategy predicting positive psychological health and fewer psychopathological problems, but little is known about its structural neural basis. In the current study, we investigated the neurostructural correlates of dispositional self-compassion and its components using voxel-based morphometry (VBM). We found that self-compassion was inversely correlated with gray matter volume (GMV) in the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), which was primarily driven by the reduced self-judgment component. We also found that the mindfulness component was associated with greater GMV in the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex/anterior cingulate cortex and the left supplementary motor area, while the isolation and the over-identification components were both correlated with greater GMV in the right inferior temporal gyrus, and over-identification additionally related to less GMV in visual areas. Our findings suggest that dispositional self-compassion and its components are associated with brain structures in regions involved in emotion regulation, self-referential and emotion processing, with implications for the cognitive and neural mechanisms of self-compassion as well as those underlying the effects of self-compassion on its health outcomes.
|Early online date||30 Jul 2021|
|Publication status||E-pub ahead of print - 30 Jul 2021|
- emotion regulation
- voxel-based morphometry