Aim: To explore whether the LKM intervention has the potential to decrease depression and increase self-compassion. Self-compassionate coping was examined as a mediating variable.
Methods: A sample of 57 university students underwent a pretest-posttest design. Self-compassion was measured with the Self-Compassion Scale, depression with the Patient Health Questionnaire – 9, and self-compassionate coping was assessed using the Self-Compassionate Coping Measure. Participants completed all measures at both pre and posttest. Between both measurement moments there were 12 days in which participants followed either the LKM or a control exercise daily. Repeated measures ANOVAs and a simple mediation analysis were performed.
Results: Over time, both groups decreased in their depression and increased in their self-compassion scores. Assignment to the LKM condition did not result in significantly higher self-compassion scores compared to control. We found a significant effect of LKM for depressive symptoms only when controlling for successfully completed homework exercises. Self-Compassionate coping did not emerge as significant mediator in our statistical analysis.
Conclusion: The results indicate a mixed picture regarding the efficacy of LKM in reducing depression and increasing self-compassion. Both conditions were possibly too similar and involved helpful elements. Further research into the antidepressant utility of LKM is warranted to understand the exact mechanisms of action.