Self-compassion and quality of life after dementia diagnosis

  • Research type

    Research Study

  • Full title

    Is self-compassion associated with Older Adults’ quality of life after dementia diagnosis and does perceived threat posed by dementia mediate this relationship?



  • Contact name

    Natasha Reed

  • Contact email

  • Sponsor organisation

    Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust

  • Duration of Study in the UK

    0 years, 10 months, 2 days

  • Research summary

    This study aims to investigate whether self-compassion is associated with older adults’ quality of life (QOL) after a diagnosis of dementia, as well as whether perceived threat posed by dementia mediates this relationship. Self-compassion has been found to be positive in supporting individuals in times of difficulty, in adjustment processes and older adults’ wellbeing. While different factors have begun to be identified which are associated with individuals’ psychological wellbeing and adjustment following a dementia diagnosis, little is known about the influence of self-compassion.

    According to the three systems model from Compassion-Focused Therapy (Gilbert, 2005), three separate systems interact to regulate emotions, namely: a threat system, which is activated in times of perceived threat, encouraging individuals to protect themselves and others; a goal-oriented and resource-seeking drive system (Depue & Morrone-Strupinsky, 2005); and a soothing system. Gilbert’s (2005, 2017) Social Mentality Theory suggests that self-compassion may facilitate feelings of connectedness, calm and safeness by activating the soothing system, and deactivating the threat system.

    Participants will be recruited via NHS memory clinics/Join Dementia Research and from the community via third-sector organisations. Individuals will be invited to attend a Microsoft Teams/telephone appointment in which informed consent and cognitive screening processes will take place at the start. Eligible participants will then be invited to continue to complete measures administered by a researcher and an interview question. Participants will be offered the opportunity to complete the measures in a second session (within an 8-week timeframe), or using the online survey software, Qualtrics, if preferred.

    This study hopes to extend existing understanding of factors associated with QOL following a dementia diagnosis. Furthermore, if self-compassion is found to influence QOL, this may facilitate timely identification of individuals who may benefit from post-diagnostic interventions to support better QOL.

  • REC name

    Wales REC 6

  • REC reference


  • Date of REC Opinion

    20 Dec 2023

  • REC opinion

    Favourable Opinion