To test the effectiveness of a brief self‐compassion intervention in improving mental health outcomes for mothers of infants.
A randomized controlled trial study design was used. A community sample of mothers of infants (<2 years) completed measures of self‐compassion, fears of compassion, psychological flexibility, depression, anxiety, stress, symptoms of posttraumatic stress, and infant feeding experiences. Mothers randomized to intervention received access to online self‐compassion resources, and 248 mothers (intervention n = 94, waitlist‐control n = 154) completed postintervention assessment 8 weeks later.
Overall, 62.8% (n = 59) of intervention participants accessed the resources per‐protocol, and lower fear of compassion scores predicted resource use. At postintervention, mothers who used the resources had improved scores for posttraumatic stress symptoms (95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.31–5.47, p = .028), depression (95% CI = 0.15–2.01, p = .023), self‐compassionate action (95% CI = 0.41–3.45, p = .012), and engagement with compassion from others (95% CI = 0.22–5.49, p = .034) compared to waitlist‐control. Fears of compassion moderated intervention effectiveness. There were no effects on other outcome variables.
Findings support the potential effectiveness of interventions based on compassion‐focused therapy to improve maternal mental health.