Although childhood maltreatment is negatively linked with the quality of adult intimate relationships, only relatively scant research has addressed the mechanisms underlying this link, focusing mainly on negative psychological processes. The role of positive processes in this link has been little explored, especially among non-clinical samples. The current study sought to examine the mediating role of self-compassion in the association between childhood maltreatment and relationship satisfaction.
A convenience sample of 667 individuals drawn from a larger sample from an online survey in which they reported being in an intimate relationship answered self-report questionnaires.
Childhood maltreatment was indeed indirectly negatively linked with satisfaction with intimate relationships through the (partial) mediation of self-compassion. Thus, childhood maltreatment was negatively linked with self-compassion, which in turn was positively linked to satisfaction with intimate relationships.
These findings provide a further example of the mediating role of self-compassion, an important transdiagnostic protective factor related to elevated satisfaction with intimate relationships. The findings highlight the potential contribution of mindfulness and compassion-based programs with survivors of childhood maltreatment who are presumably at risk for dissatisfaction with intimate relationships.
This study was not preregistered.