School of Behavioral Sciences


Doctor of Education in Community Care and Counseling (EdD)


Whitni E. Buckles


Divorce, Divorce Recovery, Christians, Self-compassion


Counseling | Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Depression, anxiety, anger, and guilt causes significant distress for 70% of divorcees, typically lasting upwards of two years, while 15-30% report more devastating and life-altering distress for the rest of their lives. Christians divorcees have the added shame of spiritual failure, leading to an increased sense of judgment and isolation from their worship communities. Self-compassion is an attitude toward oneself comprised of self-kindness, common humanity, and mindfulness, and has been shown to reduce depression, anxiety, shame, stress, and social isolation. To date, there are no published divorce recovery programs specifically tailored for Christians utilizing self-compassion techniques. This quasi-experimental study analyzed a group protocol for use with Christian women, integrating Christian-accommodative mindful self-compassion techniques with an existing secular divorce recovery workbook. While the treatment group showed gains in self-compassion, adjustment to divorce, social connectedness, self-worth and belonging, and a reduction in depression, anxiety, guilt, social isolation and God attachment-anxiety, the results showed no difference between the treatment group (N = 16) and control group (N = 10) on any measure. Self-compassion integrated with Christian principles and Scriptures was well-received by the Christian participants.