Date of Award

Summer 8-24-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical Psychology (PhD)


Clinical Psychology

First Advisor/Committee Member

Amy H. Mezulis

Second Advisor/Committee Member

Joel Jin

Third Advisor/Committee Member

Melissa Hudson


Distress disclosure is associated with perceived social support, so it is important to understand what supports our ability to disclose distress. This study examined relationships between distress disclosure, fear of others’ compassion, parental attachment, self-compassion, and perceived social support among young adults. I expected young adults with stronger parental attachment security to report greater capacity for distress disclosure and that this relationship would be mediated by fear of others’ compassion. I expected trait self-compassion to moderate relationships between these variables on all paths of the mediation, such that higher self-compassion would reduce the adverse impact of insecure parental attachment on distress disclosure through fear of others’ compassion. I expected parental attachment to predict distress disclosure above and beyond fear of others’ compassion. I expected perceived social support to be significantly correlated with both distress disclosure and self-compassion, and inversely correlated with fear of others’ compassion. Results supported the hypothesis that higher parental attachment security was related to higher distress disclosure through fear of others’ compassion for both maternal attachment (β = .0585, S.E. = .0113, 95% CI [.0382 to .0815]) and paternal attachment (β = .0569, S.E. = .0118, 95% CI [.0339 to .0806]). However, results did not support moderation by trait self-compassion. Fear of others’ compassion predicted distress disclosure above and beyond parental attachment for both mothers (B = -.456, S.E. = .059, p < .001) and fathers (B = -.448, S.E. = .068, p < .001). Males scored significantly higher on paternal attachment than females (F = 6.697, SE = .37, p = .02). Paternal attachment predicted distress disclosure more strongly than did maternal attachment (B = .084, S.E. = .027, p = .002), but this relationship appeared driven less by fear of others' compassion than was maternal attachment, suggesting that paternal attachment predicts distress disclosure through other mechanisms. Distress disclosure was significantly associated with perceived social support (t(297) = .308, p < .001) and trait self-compassion (t(296) = .325, p < .001). Perceived social support was significantly inversely associated with fear of others’ compassion (t(297) = -.405, p < .001). Interpretation and implications of findings were discussed.