ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

心理学报 ›› 2023, Vol. 55 ›› Issue (8): 1317-1329.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2023.01317

• 研究报告 • 上一篇    下一篇


梅颖1, 刘郡彤2, 刘红红3, 傅洋1, 罗熙2, 雷怡1()   

  1. 1四川师范大学脑与心理科学研究院, 成都 610066
    2深圳大学心理学院, 深圳 518060
    3青海师范大学教育学院, 西宁 810008
  • 收稿日期:2021-06-21 出版日期:2023-08-25 发布日期:2023-05-12
  • 通讯作者: 雷怡, E-mail:
  • 基金资助:

Self-compassion writing facilitates fear extinction

MEI Ying1, LIU Juntong2, LIU Honghong3, FU Yang1, LUO Xi2, LEI Yi1()   

  1. 1Institute of Brain and Psychological Sciences, Sichuan Normal University, Chengdu, 610065, China
    2School of Psychology, Shenzhen University, Shenzhen 518060, China
    3College of Education, Qinghai Normal University, Xining 810008, China
  • Received:2021-06-21 Online:2023-08-25 Published:2023-05-12


先前研究表明, 自悯干预能够改善焦虑相关精神疾病的心理症状, 然而自悯改善焦虑的作用机制尚不清楚。以恐惧消退为基础的暴露疗法是治疗焦虑症的关键疗法, 研究自悯干预如何促进恐惧消退从而增强暴露疗法的效果有助于阐释暴露疗法的作用机制。本研究共56名有效健康被试, 在恐惧习得之后, 将匹配自悯水平和焦虑水平的被试随机分配进行自悯写作或非自悯日常写作, 最后进行恐惧消退测试, 并通过检测写作前后的正负性情绪变化以及恐惧消退早期、晚期的电击预期反应和皮肤电反应来探究自悯写作对恐惧消退的影响及其作用机制。结果显示, 两种写作任务均降低了被试的负性情绪; 相比于非自悯日常写作, 自悯写作显著降低了被试在恐惧消退早期和晚期的对威胁和安全线索的电击预期反应。相比于消退晚期, 自悯组消退早期的皮肤电反应更弱。这一结果表明, 自悯写作能够调节对威胁和安全线索的反应来促进恐惧消退。本研究首次运用实验室恐惧消退模型探讨自我怜悯调节威胁刺激的加工机制, 有助于解释自悯改善焦虑症状的心理和生理机制, 并强调了在基于恐惧消退范式的暴露疗法中增加认知干预的必要性。

关键词: 焦虑, 暴露疗法, 负性情绪, 自悯, 恐惧消退


Self-compassion is the tendency to care for and understand oneself, and cultivating this behavior is considered a promising cognitive treatment for anxiety disorders. However, the underlying mechanism of how self-compassion reduces anxiety remains unknown. Given the central role of fear extinction-based exposure therapy for the treatment of anxiety, studying how self-compassion affects fear extinction may help elucidate the underlying mechanisms. Previous studies have found that writing can be an effective way to promote self-compassion and emotional regulation. Thus, this study aimed to test the impact of self-compassion writing on fear extinction.

This study contained 56 healthy effective participants, who were randomly assigned into self-compassion and control writing groups. The experimental process included five phases: pre-conditioning, negative event writing, fear conditioning, self-compassion writing, and fear extinction. All the participants completed the Self-Compassion Scale (SCS), the Positive and Negative Affect Scale (PANAS), and the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) before and after the experiment. The PANAS was also assessed immediately after the negative event writing phase to assess the effectiveness of manipulation. Participants were asked to write about an adverse event that made them feel bad about themselves during the negative writing phase. The self-compassion group was guided to respond to three prompts that focus on self-kindness, common humanity, and mindfulness. The control group was asked to write about their daily routines in a factual and unemotional manner. The shock expectancy ratings and skin conductance response (SCR) were recorded as the index of extinction learning. Three-way repeated measure ANOVA was conducted to examine the between-group differences in ratings and SCR across time extinction learning, with writing condition as the between-subject variable (self-compassion, control), and stimuli type (conditioned danger stimuli [CS+], conditioned safe stimuli [CS−]) and extinction phase (early, late) as within-subject variables.

The results showed that the writing of negative events successfully reduced the positive affect (PA) of participants. There was no group difference during the fear conditioning phase and all participants successfully acquired fear. After writing intervention, the negative affect (NA) was significantly reduced in both groups. However, compared to the control group, the self-compassion group showed lower shock expectancy ratings in response to danger (CS+) and safety (CS−) cues during both early and late extinction. The SCR results showed that early extinction induced lower response than late extinction in the self-compassion group. Overall, the results demonstrate that self-compassion may promote fear extinction by regulating the response to both danger and safety cues. To our knowledge, this is the first study that uses the fear extinction model to test how self-compassion intervention can influence fear processing. Our results expand our understanding into the psychological and physiological mechanism of how self-compassion can reduce anxiety-related symptoms.

These findings have several implications. First, self-compassion writing intervention is independent of control writing as a method to cope with threats. Second, compared to PANAS, shock expectancy ratings might be a sensitive indicator to characterize the effect of self-compassion intervention on anxiety-related symptoms. Finally, self-compassion might could be a reasonable strategy to counter enhanced response to danger cues and inhibited fear response to safety cues.

Key words: anxiety, exposure therapy, negative affect, self-compassion, fear extinction