Self-Compassion: A Potential Buffer in an Evaluative Dance Environment

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Lauren Tarasoff
Leah Ferguson
Kent Kowalski


Common characteristics of the dance environment, including mirrored settings, tight-fitted clothing, and evaluation by others create an atmosphere that can negatively influence a ballet dancer’s body image and act as a barrier to participation (Radell, Adame, Cole, & Blumenkehl, 2011; Tiggemann & Slater, 2001).  Thus, it is important to identify resources that can buffer against negative self-perceptions in an evaluative dance environment.  The purpose of this study was to explore self-compassion in relation to self-evaluative thoughts and behaviours in an evaluative ballet environment.  Participants (N = 57 women undergraduate students; Mage = 20.59 years, SD = 3.81) completed an online questionnaire containing measures of self-compassion, social physique anxiety (trait and state versions), fear of negative evaluation (trait and state versions), as well as reactions, thoughts, and emotions to a hypothetical first day of beginner ballet class scenario consistent with the common characteristics of the dance environment.  Self-compassion was negatively related to trait and state social physique anxiety, trait and state fear of negative evaluation, total negative affect, personalizing thoughts, and catastrophizing thoughts, as well as positively associated with behavioural equanimity and thoughts of equanimity. Finding self-compassion to be associated with lower neegative self-perceptions within the context of an evaluative beginner ballet class replicates past correlational research and advances the literature by contextualizing self-compassion to a specific evaluative environment.