Enhancing Compassion: A Randomized Controlled Trial of a Compassion Cultivation Training Program
Purchase on Springer.com
$39.95 / €34.95 / £29.95*
Rent the article at a discountRent now
* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.
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.
- Balslev, A., & Evers, D. (2011). Compassion in the world’s religions: Envisioning human solidarity. Berlin: Lit Verlag.
- Batson, C. D. (1991). The altruism question: Toward a social-psychological answer. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
- Birnie, K., Speca, M., & Carlson, L. E. (2010). Exploring self-compassion and empathy in the context of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR). Stress and Health, 26, 359–371. doi:10.1002/smi.1305. CrossRef
- Capitanio, J. P., & Herek, G. M. (1999). AIDS-related stigma and attitudes towards injecting drug users among Black and White Americans. American Behavioral Scientist, 42, 1144–1157. doi:10.1177/0002764299042007007.
- Carson, J. W., Carson, K. M., Gil, K. M., & Baucom, D. H. (2004). Mindfulness-based relationship enhancement. Behavior Therapy, 35, 471–494. doi:10.1016/S0005-7894(04)80028-5. CrossRef
- Compassion. (2011). In Merriam-Webster.com. Retrieved October 19, 2011, from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/compassion.
- Eisenberg, N., Guthrie, I. K., Murphy, B. C., Shepard, S. A., Cumberland, A., & Carlo, G. (1999). Consistency and development of prosocial dispositions: A longitudinal study. Child Development, 70, 1360–1372. CrossRef
- Fredrickson, B. L., Cohn, M., Coffey, K. A., Pek, J., & Finkel, S. A. (2008). Open hearts build lives: Positive emotions, induced through loving-kindness meditation, build consequential personal resources. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 95, 1045–1062. doi:10.1037/a0013262. CrossRef
- Gerhardt, S. (2010). The selfish society: How we all forgot to love one another and made money instead. London: Simon & Schuster.
- Germer, C. K. (2009). The mindful path to self-compassion: Freeing yourself from destructive thoughts and emotions. New York: Guilford Press.
- Gilbert, P. (2007). Psychotherapy and counselling for depression (3rd ed.). London: Stage.
- Gilbert, P. (2009). The compassionate mind: A new approach to life’s challenges. London: Constable & Robinson.
- Gilbert, P. (2010). Compassion focused therapy: Distinctive features. London: Routledge.
- Gilbert, P., & Irons, C. (2005). Focused therapies and compassionate mind training for shame and self-attacking. In P. Gilbert (Ed.), Compassion: Conceptualisations, research and use in psychotherapy (pp. 263–325). London: Routledge.
- Gilbert, P., McEwan, K., Matos, M., & Rivis, A. (2010). Fears of compassion: Development of three self-report measures. Psychology and Psycotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice. doi: 10.1348/147608310X526511.
- Gilbert, P., & Procter, S. (2006). Compassionate mind training for people with high shame and self-criticism: overview and pilot study of a group therapy approach. Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy, 13, 353–379. doi:10.1002/cpp.507. CrossRef
- Goetz, J. L., Keltner, D., & Simon-Thomas, E. (2010). Compassion: An evolutionary analysis and empirical review. Psychological Bulletin, 136, 351–374. doi:10.1037/a0018807. CrossRef
- Hutcherson, C. A., Seppala, E. M., & Gross, J. J. (2008). Loving-kindness meditation increases social connectedness. Emotion, 8, 720–724. doi:10.1037/a0013237. CrossRef
- Jazaieri, H., Goldin, P. R., Werner, K., Ziv, M., & Gross, J. J. (2012). A randomized trial of mindfulness-based stress reduction versus aerobic exercise for social anxiety disorder. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 68, 715–731. doi:10.1002/jclp.21863.
- Jinpa, T. (2010). Compassion cultivation training (CCT): Instructor’s manual. Unpublished, Stanford, CA.
- Kabat-Zinn, J. (1990). Full catastrophe living: Using the wisdom of your body and mind to face stress, pain and illness. New York: Delacorte.
- Lama, D. (1995). The power of compassion: A collection of lectures. New Delhi: HarperCollins.
- Lama, D. (2001). Open heart: Practicing compassion in everyday life. Boston: Little, Brown and Company.
- Leary, M. R., Tate, E. B., Adams, C. E., Allen, A. B., & Hancock, J. (2007). Self-compassion and reactions to unpleasant self-relevant events: The implications of treating oneself kindly. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 92, 887–904. CrossRef
- Lutz, A., Brefczynski-Lewis, J., Johnstone, T., & Davidson, R. J. (2008). Regulation of the neural circuitry of emotion by compassion meditation: Effects of meditative expertise. Public Library of Science, 3, 1–5.
- Lutz, A., Greischar, L. L., Rawlings, N. B., Ricard, M., & Davidson, R. J. (2004). Long-term meditators self-induce high-amplitude gamma synchrony during mental practice. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 101, 16369–16373. CrossRef
- Mayhew, S., & Gilbert, P. (2008). Compassionate mind training with people who hear malevolent voices. A case series report. Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, 15, 113–138. CrossRef
- Moses, J. (2002). Oneness: Great principles shared by all religions. Toronto: Ballantine.
- Neff, K. D. (2003a). The development and validation of a scale to measure self-compassion. Self and Identity, 2, 223–250. doi:10.1080/15298860309027. CrossRef
- Neff, K. D. (2003b). Self-compassion: An alternative conceptualization of a healthy attitude toward oneself. Self and Identity, 2, 85–102. doi:10.1080/15298860309032. CrossRef
- Neff, K. D. (2009). The role of self-compassion in development: A healthier way to relate to oneself. Human Development, 52, 211–214. CrossRef
- Neff, K. D. (2011). Self-compassion, self-esteem, and well-being. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 5, 1–12. doi:10.1111/j.1751-9004.2010.00330.x. CrossRef
- Neff, K. D., Hseih, Y., & Dejitthirat, K. (2005). Self-compassion, achievement goals, and coping with academic failure. Self and Identity, 4, 263–287. CrossRef
- Neff, K. D., Rude, S. S., & Kirkpatrick, K. (2007). An examination of self-compassion in relation to positive psychological functioning and personality traits. Journal of Research in Personality, 41, 908–916. doi:10.1016/j.jrp.2006.08.002. CrossRef
- 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. CrossRef
- Pace, T. W., Negi, L. T., Adame, D. D., Cole, S. P., Sivilli, T. I., Brown, T. D., et al. (2009). Effect of compassion meditation on neuroendocrine, innate immune and behavioral responses to psychosocial stress. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 34, 87–98. doi:10.1016/j.psyneuen.2008.08.011. CrossRef
- Pace, T. W., Negi, L. T., Sivilli, T. I., Issa, M. J., Cole, S. P., Adame, D. D., et al. (2010). Innate immune, neuroendocrine and behavioral responses to psychosocial stress do not predict subsequent compassion meditation practice time. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 35, 310–315. doi:10.1016/j.psyneuen.2009.06.008. CrossRef
- Salzberg, S. (1995). Loving-kindness: The revoluationary art of happiness. Boston: Shambhala.
- Schafer, J. L., & Graham, J. W. (2002). Missing data: Our view of the state of the art. Psychological Methods, 7, 147–177. doi:10.1037/1082-989X.7.2.147. CrossRef
- Shapiro, S. L., Astin, J. A., Bishop, S. R., & Cordova, M. (2005). Mindfulness-based stress reduction for health care professionals: Results from a randomized trial. International Journal of Stress Management, 12, 164–176. CrossRef
- Shapiro, S. L., Bootzin, R. R., Figueredo, A. J., Lopez, A. M., & Schwartz, G. E. (2003). The efficacy of mindfulness-based stress reduction in the treatment of sleep disturbance in women with breast cancer: An exploratory study. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 54, 85–91. doi:10.1016/S0022-3999(02)00546-9. CrossRef
- Shapiro, S. L., Brown, K. W., & Biegel, G. M. (2007). Teaching self-care to caregivers: Effects of mindfulness-based stress reduction on the mental health of therapists in training. Training and Education in Professional Psychology, 1(2), 105–115. doi:10.1037/1931-3918.104.22.168. CrossRef
- Shapiro, S. L., Schwartz, G. E., & Bonner, G. (1998). Effects of mindfulness-based stres reduction on medical and premedical students. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 21, 581–599. CrossRef
- Weiner, B., Perry, R. P., & Magnusson, J. (1988). An attributional analysis of reactions to stigmas. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 55, 738–748. doi:10.1037/0022-3522.214.171.1248. CrossRef
- Werner, K., Jazaieri, H., Goldin, P. R., Ziv, M., Heimberg, R. G., & Gross, J. J. (2011). Self-compassion and social anxiety disorder. Anxiety, Stress, and Coping. doi: 10.1080/10615806.2011.608842.
- Enhancing Compassion: A Randomized Controlled Trial of a Compassion Cultivation Training Program
Journal of Happiness Studies
Volume 14, Issue 4 , pp 1113-1126
- Cover Date
- Print ISSN
- Online ISSN
- Springer Netherlands
- Additional Links
- Author Affiliations
- 1. Department of Psychology, Stanford University, 420 Jordan Hall, Room 420, Stanford, CA, 94305-2130, USA
- 2. Center for Compassion and Altruism Research, Stanford, CA, USA
- 3. School of Medicine, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA