Journal of Happiness Studies

, Volume 14, Issue 4, pp 1113–1126

Enhancing Compassion: A Randomized Controlled Trial of a Compassion Cultivation Training Program

  • Hooria Jazaieri
  • Geshe Thupten Jinpa
  • Kelly McGonigal
  • Erika L. Rosenberg
  • Joel Finkelstein
  • Emiliana Simon-Thomas
  • Margaret Cullen
  • James R. Doty
  • James J. Gross
  • Philippe R. Goldin
Research Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10902-012-9373-z

Cite this article as:
Jazaieri, H., Jinpa, G.T., McGonigal, K. et al. J Happiness Stud (2013) 14: 1113. doi:10.1007/s10902-012-9373-z

Abstract

Psychosocial interventions often aim to alleviate negative emotional states. However, there is growing interest in cultivating positive emotional states and qualities. One particular target is compassion, but it is not yet clear whether compassion can be trained. A community sample of 100 adults were randomly assigned to a 9-week compassion cultivation training (CCT) program (n = 60) or a waitlist control condition (n = 40). Before and after this 9-week period, participants completed self-report inventories that measured compassion for others, receiving compassion from others, and self-compassion. Compared to the waitlist control condition, CCT resulted in significant improvements in all three domains of compassion—compassion for others, receiving compassion from others, and self-compassion. The amount of formal meditation practiced during CCT was associated with increased compassion for others. Specific domains of compassion can be intentionally cultivated in a training program. These findings may have important implications for mental health and well-being.

Keywords

CompassionSelf-compassionMeditationTraining

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hooria Jazaieri
    • 1
  • Geshe Thupten Jinpa
    • 2
  • Kelly McGonigal
    • 2
  • Erika L. Rosenberg
    • 2
  • Joel Finkelstein
    • 3
  • Emiliana Simon-Thomas
    • 2
  • Margaret Cullen
    • 2
  • James R. Doty
    • 2
    • 3
  • James J. Gross
    • 1
  • Philippe R. Goldin
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyStanford UniversityStanfordUSA
  2. 2.Center for Compassion and Altruism ResearchStanfordUSA
  3. 3.School of MedicineStanford UniversityStanfordUSA