Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

M.A. in Psychology

First Advisor

Grace N. Rivera

Second Advisor

Carrie Smith

Third Advisor

Andy Hales


University of Mississippi

Relational Format



Given that having a self-compassionate attitude is linked to positive psychological functioning, it is important to identify factors that promote self-compassion. Several self-transcendent experiences and emotions, which perceptually blur the lines between the self and others, predict self-compassion. Awe, a mixed-valance emotion defined by vastness and need for accommodation, seemed a likely candidate to promote self-compassion, as it is also a self- transcendent emotion with intra and interpersonal functions (e.g., increased humility, openness, and connection) that theory and empirical research has linked to self-compassion. Thus, we hypothesized that awe would promote self-compassion both directly and indirectly via boosted feelings of self-diminishment and connectedness. The study consisted of 351 undergraduates and a between-subjects manipulation, where participants watched one of four videos that elicited different flavors of awe (positive-nature awe, negative-nature awe, non-nature awe, or control). Results found that there was no significant difference in self-compassion and connectedness between conditions. However, compared to the control, both positive and negative nature awe increased self-diminishment, which negatively related to self-compassion. Negative nature awe also had a significant positive direct effect on self-compassion when accounting for the indirect effect via self-diminishment. While results of the study were mixed, several methodological concerns such as the study’s setting, type of self-diminishment scale, and awe manipulation are discussed, along with future directions and potential implications of this work.


Experimental Psychology



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