Kristin Neff

Kristin Neff

Associate Professor

Human Development, Culture, & Learning Sciences


Office & Hours

Office: SZB 506D
Hours: by appointment

(512) 471-0382 (e-mail preferred)

(512) 471-1288

View Website

Courses of Instruction
EDP 386N Mindfulness, Compassion and the Self
EDP 385 Individual thru the Lifecycle

Mailing Address
The University of Texas at Austin
Educational Psychology
1912 Speedway, Stop D5800
Austin, TX 78712-1289

Full Vita
download vita (pdf)


Dr. Kristin Neff’s research interests center on the psychological health benefits of self-compassion. Self-compassion is a concept borrowed from Buddhist psychology, and entails self-kindness, feelings of interconnectedness, and mindfulness. Dr. Neff has developed a scale to measure the construct and has conducted numerous studies on the topic.

Dr. Neff is internationally recognized as the pioneering researcher into self-compassion. She is now focusing on applications of self-compassion, teaching people how to relate to themselves with greater kindness.


B.A., Communications, University of California at Los Angeles, 1988

M.A., Education, University of California at Berkeley, 1992

Ph.D., Education, University of California at Berkeley, 1997

Representative Publications

Lockard, A. J., Hayes, J. A., Neff, K. D., & Locke, B. D. (In press). Self-compassion among college counseling center clients: An examination of clinical norms and group differences. Journal of College Counseling.

Germer, C., & Neff, K. D., (In press). Cultivating Self-Compassion in Trauma Survivors. In V. Follette, J. Briere, J. Hopper, D. Rozelle, & D. I. Rome (Eds.) Contemplative Methods in Trauma Treatment: Integrating Mindfulness and Other Approaches. Guildford Press.

Neff, K. D. & Knox, M. (In press). Self-Compassion. In S. Lopez (Ed.), The Encyclopedia of Positive Psychology, 2nd Ed. John Wiley.

Albertson, E. R., Neff, K. D., & Dill-Shackleford, K. E. (2014). Self-compassion and body dissatisfaction in women: A randomized controlled trial of a brief meditation intervention. Mindfulness, 1-11

Neff, K. D. (2011). Self-Compassion: Stop beating yourself up and leave insecurity behind. New York: William Morrow.

Neff, K. D. (2009). Self-Compassion. In M. R. Leary & R. H. Hoyle (Eds.), Handbook of Individual Differences in Social Behavior (pp. 561-573). New York: Guilford Press.

Neff, K. D. & Vonk, R. (2009). Self-compassion versus global self-esteem: Two different ways of relating to oneself. Journal of Personality, 77, 23-50.

Recent Awards

    Awarded a research grant from The University of Texas at Austin for the study “The Psychological Correlates of Self-Compassion among Adolescents.” 2009

Current Research Projects and Grants

Dr. Neff is currently examining the effectiveness of the Mindful Self-Compassion program. Additionally, Dr. Neff is investigating the link between self-compassion and compassion for others.

Research Interests and Expertise

Dr. Neff’s research links self-compassion to mental health. She has successfully differentiated the construct of self-compassion from self-esteem. This line of research is highly cross disciplinary, drawing from fields of social and personality psychology, developmental psychology, and clinical psychology. Recently, Dr. Neff developed an eight-week program designed to teach self-compassion skills called "Mindful Self-Compassion." The effectiveness of the program is being evaluated using a wait-list control design.

Following her doctoral training in the area of moral development and her postdoctoral training in the area of self-concept development, Dr. Neff’s research has focused on defining, measuring, and developing an intervention to teach self-compassion. According to Dr. Neff’s model, self-compassion involves showing kindness to oneself when experiencing suffering, framing one’s experience of imperfection in light of the shared human experience, and mindful awareness of negative thoughts and emotions. Dr. Neff was the first scholar to introduce the construct of self-compassion into the research literature. She operationalized the construct and created a scale by which it is measured.