Motivation and Emotion

, Volume 38, Issue 1, pp 23–35 | Cite as

A randomized controlled trial of compassion cultivation training: Effects on mindfulness, affect, and emotion regulation

  • Hooria Jazaieri
  • Kelly McGonigal
  • Thupten Jinpa
  • James R. Doty
  • James J. Gross
  • Philippe R. Goldin
Original Paper

Abstract

Compassion is a positive orientation towards suffering that may be enhanced through compassion training and is thought to influence psychological functioning. However, the effects of compassion training on mindfulness, affect, and emotion regulation are not known. We conducted a randomized controlled trial in which 100 adults from the community were randomly assigned to either a 9-week compassion cultivation training (CCT) or a waitlist (WL) control condition. Participants completed self-report inventories that measured mindfulness, positive and negative affect, and emotion regulation. Compared to WL, CCT resulted in increased mindfulness and happiness, as well as decreased worry and emotional suppression. Within CCT, the amount of formal meditation practiced was related to reductions in worry and emotional suppression. These findings suggest that compassion cultivation training effects cognitive and emotion factors that support psychological flexible and adaptive functioning.

Keywords

Compassion Mindfulness Affect Emotion Emotion regulation Meditation 

Supplementary material

11031_2013_9368_MOESM1_ESM.docx (43 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 43 kb)

References

  1. Baer, R. A., Smith, G. T., & Allen, K. B. (2004). Assessment of mindfulness by self-report: The Kentucky Inventory of Mindfulness Skills. Assessment, 11, 191–206. doi:10.1177/1073191104268029.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bandura, A., Caprara, G. V., Barbaranelli, C., Gerbino, M., & Pastorelli, C. (2003). Role of affective self-regulatory efficacy in diverse spheres of psychosocial functioning. Child Development, 74, 769–782. doi:10.1111/1467-8624.00567.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bandura, A., & Cervone, D. (1986). Differential engagement of selfreactive influences in cognitive motivation. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 38, 92–113. doi:10.1016/0749-5978(86)90028-2.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Barlow, D. H. (2000). Unraveling the mysteries of anxiety and its disorders from the perspective of emotion theory. American Psychologist, 55, 1247–1263. doi:10.1037//0003-066X.55.11.1247.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Barnard, L. K., & Curry, J. F. (2011). Self-compassion: Conceptualizations, correlates, & interventions. Review of General Psychology, 15, 289–303. doi:10.1037/a0025754.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bishop, S. R., Lau, M., Shapiro, S. L., Carlson, L. E., Anderson, N., Carmody, J., et al. (2004). Mindfulness: A proposed operational definition. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 11, 230–241. doi:10.1037/1528-3542.6.4.587.Google Scholar
  7. Cacioppo, J. T., Hawkley, L. C., Kalil, A., Hughes, M. E., Waite, L., & Thisted, R. A. (2008). Happiness and the invisible threads of social connection. In M. Eid & R. Larsen (Eds.), The science of subjective well-being (pp. 195–219). New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  8. Campbell-Sills, L., Barlow, D. H., Brown, T. A., & Hofmann, S. G. (2006a). Acceptability and suppression of negative emotion in anxiety and mood disorders. Emotion, 6, 587–595. doi:10.1037/1528-3542.6.4.587.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Campbell-Sills, L., Barlow, D. H., Brown, T. A., & Hofmann, S. G. (2006b). Effects of suppression and acceptance on emotional responses of individuals with anxiety and mood disorders. Behavior Research and Therapy, 44, 1251–1263. doi:10.1016/j.brat.2005.10.001.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 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.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Cheng, C. (2001). Assessing coping flexibility in real-life and laboratory settings: A multimethod approach. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 80, 814–833. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.80.5.814.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Chiesa, A., & Serretti, A. (2009). Mindfulness-based stress reduction for stress management in healthy people: A review and meta-analysis. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 15. doi:10.1089/acm.2008.0495.
  13. Cohen, S., Kamarck, T., & Mermelstein, R. (1983). A global measures of perceived stress. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 24, 385–396. doi:10.2307/2136404.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Cosley, B. J., McCoy, S. K., Saslow, L. R., & Epel, E. S. (2010). Is compassion for others stress buffering? Consequences of Compassion and Social Support for Physiological Reactivity to Stress, 46, 816–823. doi:10.1016/j.jesp.2010.04.008.Google Scholar
  15. Côté, S., Gyurak, A., & Levenson, R. W. (2010). The ability to regulate emotion is associated with greater well-being, income, and socioeconomic status. Emotion, 10, 923–933. doi:10.1037/a0021156.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Crocker, J. (2011). Presidential address: Self-image and compassionate goals and construction of the social self: Implications for social and personality psychology. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 15, 394–407. doi:10.1177/1088868311418746.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Crocker, J., & Canevello, A. (2008). Creating and undermining social support in communal relationships: The role of compassionate and self-image goals. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 95, 555–575. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.95.3.555.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Dunn, E. W., Aknin, L. B., & Norton, M. I. (2008). Spending money on others promotes happiness. Science, 319, 1687–1688. doi:10.1126/science.1150952.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Eifert, G. H., & Heffner, M. (2003). The effects of acceptance versus control contexts on avoidance of panic-related symptoms. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, 34, 293–312. doi:10.1016/j.jbtep.2003.11.001.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Ellenbogen, M. A., Schwartzman, A. E., Stewart, J., & Walker, C. D. (2002). Stress and selective attention: The interplay of mood, cortisol levels, and emotional information processing. Psychophysiology, 39, 723–732. doi:10.1111/1469-8986.3960723.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. English, T., & John, O. P. (2012). Understanding the social effects of emotion regulation: The mediating role of authenticity for individual differences in suppression. Emotion. [Epub ahead of print]. doi:10.1037/a0029847.
  22. 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.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Fresco, D. M., Moore, M. T., van Dulmen, M., Segal, Z. V., Teasdale, J. D., Ma, H., et al. (2007). Initial psychometric properties of the Experiences Questionnaire: Validation of a self-report measure of decentering. Behavior Therapy, 38, 234–246. doi:10.1016/j.beth.2006.08.003.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Garland, E., Gaylord, S., & Park, J. (2009). The role of mindfulness in positive reappraisal. Explore, 5, 37–44. doi:10.1016/j.explore.2008.10.001.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Gilbert, P. (2010). Compassion focused therapy: Distinctive features. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  26. Gilbert, P., McEwan, K., Matos, M., & Rivis, A. (2010). Fears of compassion: Development of three self-report measures. Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice, 84, 239–255. doi:10.1348/147608310x526511.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 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 and Psychotherapy, 13, 353–379. doi:10.1002/cpp.507.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 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.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Goldin, P. R., & Gross, J. J. (2010). Effects of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) on emotion regulation in social anxiety disorder. Emotion, 10, 83–91. doi:10.1037/a0018441.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Goldin, P. R., Manber-Ball, T., Werner, K., Heimberg, R., & Gross, J. J. (2009). Neural mechanisms of cognitive reappraisal of negative self-beliefs in social anxiety disorder. Biological Psychiatry, 66, 1091–1099. doi:10.1016/j.biopsych.2009.07.014.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Goldin, P. R., Ziv, M., Jazaieri, H., Werner, K., Kraemer, H., Heimberg, R. G., & Gross, J. J. (2012). Cognitive reappraisal self-efficacy mediates the effects of individual cognitive-behavioral therapy for social anxiety disorder. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. [Epub ahead of print]. doi:10.1037/a0028555.
  32. Gross, J. J. (1998). The emerging field of emotion regulation: An integrative review. Review of General psychology, 2, 271. doi:10.1037//1089-2680.2.3.271.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Gross, J. J. (2010). The future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades. Emotion Review, 2, 212–216. doi:10.1177/1754073910361982.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Gross, J. J., & John, O. P. (2003). Individual differences in two emotion regulation processes: Implications for affect, relationships, and well being. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 85, 248–362. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.85.2.348.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Gross, J. J., & Muñoz, R. F. (1995). Emotion regulation and mental health. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 2, 151–164. doi:10.1111/j.1468-2850.1995.tb00036.x.Google Scholar
  36. Gross, J. J., & Thompson, R. A. (2007). Emotion regulation: Conceptual foundations. In J. J. Gross (Ed.), Handbook of emotion regulation (pp. 3–24). New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  37. Grossman, P., Niemann, L., Schmidt, S., & Walach, H. (2004). Mindfulness-based stress reduction and health benefits: A meta-analysis. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 57, 35–43. doi:10.1016/s0022-3999(03)00573-7.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Halifax, J. (2012). A heuristic model of enactive compassion. Current Opinion in Supportive and Palliative Care, 6, 228–235. doi:10.1097/SPC.0b013e3283530fbe.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Hutcherson, C. A., Seppala, E. M., & Gross, J. J. (2008). Loving-kindness meditation increases social connectedness. Emotion, 8, 720–724. doi:10.1037/a0013237.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Jazaieri, H., Jinpa, T. G., McGonigal, K., Rosenberg, E., Finkelstein, J., Simon-Thomas, E., & Goldin, P. R. (2012). Enhancing compassion: A randomized controlled trial of a compassion cultivation training program. Journal of Happiness Studies. [Epub ahead of print]. doi:10.1007/s10902-012-9373-z.
  41. Jinpa, G. T. (2010). Compassion cultivation training (CCT): Instructor’s manual (unpublished).Google Scholar
  42. Kabat-Zinn, J. (1990). Full catastrophe living: Using the wisdom of your body and mind to face stress, pain and illness. New York: Delacorte.Google Scholar
  43. Kashdan, T. B., Barrios, V., Forsyth, J. P., & Steger, M. F. (2006). Experiential avoidance as a generalized psychological vulnerability: Comparisons with coping and emotion regulation strategies. Behavior Research and Therapy, 44, 1301–1320. doi:10.1016/j.brat.2005.10.003.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Kashdan, T. B., & Rottenberg, J. (2010). Psychological flexibility as a fundamental aspect of health. Clinical Psychology Review, 30, 865–878. doi:10.1016/j.cpr.2010.03.001.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Keng, S.-L., Smoski, M. J., & Robins, C. J. (2011). Effects of mindfulness on psychological health: A review of empirical studies. Clinical Psychology Review, 31, 1041–1056. doi:10.1016/j.cpr.2011.04.006.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Klimecki, O. M., Leiberg, S., Lamm, C., & Singer, T. (2012). Functional neural plasticity and associated changes in positive affect after compassion training. Cerebral Cortex. [Epub ahead of print]. doi:10.1093/cercor/bhs142.
  47. Kring, A. M., & Werner, K. H. (2004). Emotion regulation and psychopathology. In P. Philippot & R. S. Feldman (Eds.), The regulation of emotion (pp. 359–385). Hove: Psychology Press.Google Scholar
  48. Kumar, S. M. (2002). An introduction to Buddhism for the cognitive-behavioral therapist. Cognitive and Behavioral Practice, 9, 40–43. doi:10.1016/S1077-7229(02)80038-4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Leiberg, S., Klimeck, O., & Singer, T. (2011). Short-term compassion training increases prosocial behavior in a newly developed prosocial game. PLoS ONE, 6, e17798. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0017798.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Levitt, J. T., Brown, T. A., Orsillo, S. M., & Barlow, D. H. (2004). The effects of acceptance versus suppression of emotion on subjective and psychophysiological response to carbon dioxide challenge in patients with panic disorder. Behavior Therapy, 35, 747–766. doi:10.1016/S0005-7894(04)80018-2.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Lieberman, M. D., Inagaki, T. K., Tabibnia, G., & Crockett, M. J. (2011). Subjective responses to emotional stimuli during labeling, reappraisal, and distraction. Emotion, 11, 468–480. doi:10.1037/a0023503.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Lyubomirsky, S., & Lepper, H. S. (1999). A measure of subjective happiness: Preliminary reliability and construct validation. Social Indicators Research, 46, 137–155. doi:10.1023/A:1006824100041.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Mayer, J. D., Faber, M. A., & Xu, X. (2007). Seventy-five years of motivation measures (1930–2005): A descriptive analysis. Motivation and Emotion, 31, 83–103. doi:10.1007/s11031-007-9060-2.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Mennin, D. S., Heimberg, R. G., Turk, C. L., & Fresco, D. M. (2002). Applying an emotion regulation framework to integrative approaches to generalized anxiety disorder. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 9, 85–90. doi:10.1093/clipsy.9.1.85.Google Scholar
  55. Meyer, T. J., Miller, M. L., Metzger, R. L., & Borkovec, T. D. (1990). Development and validation of the Penn State Worry Questionnaire. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 28. doi:10.1016/0005-7967(90)90135-6.
  56. Moore, S. A., Zoellner, L. A., & Mollenholt, N. (2008). Are expressive suppression and cognitive reappraisal associated with stress-related symptoms? Behavior Research and Therapy, 46, 993–1000. doi:10.1016/j.brat.2008.05.001.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Neff, K. D. (2003). The development and validation of a scale to measure self-compassion. Self and Identity, 2, 223–250. doi:10.1080/15298860309027.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Neff, K. D., & Germer, C. K. (2012). A pilot study and randomized controlled trial of the mindful self-compassion program. Journal of Clinical Psychology. [Epub ahead of print]. doi:10.1002/jclp.21923.
  59. 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.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. 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.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Roemer, L., Lee, J. K., Salters-Pedneault, K., Erisman, S. M., Orsillo, S. M., & Mennin, D. S. (2009). Mindfulness and emotion regulation difficulties in generalized anxiety disorder: Preliminary evidence for independent and overlapping contributions. Behavior Therapy, 40, 142–154. doi:10.1016/j.beth.2008.04.001.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Ryan, R., & Deci, E. (2001). On happiness and human potentials: A review of research on hedonic and eudemonic well-being. Annual Review of Psychology, 52, 141–166.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Salzberg, S. (1995). Lovingkindness: The revolutionary art of happiness. Boston, MA: Shambhala.Google Scholar
  64. 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.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Shapiro, S. L., Jazaieri, H., & Goldin, P. R. (2012). Mindfulness-based stress reduction effects on moral reasoning and decision making. Journal of Positive Psychology. [Epub ahead of print]. doi:10.1080/17439760.2012.723732.
  66. Shapiro, S. L., Schwartz, G. E., & Bonner, G. (1998). Effects of mindfulness-based stress reduction on medical and premedical students. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 21, 581–599.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Steffen, P. R., & Masters, K. S. (2005). Does compassion mediate the intrinsic religion-health relationship? Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 30, 217–224. doi:10.1207/s15324796abm3003_6.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Wirtz, P. H., von Kanel, R., Mohiyeddini, C., Emini, L., Ruedisueli, K., Groessbauer, S., et al. (2006). Low social support and poor emotional regulation are associated with increased stress hormone reactivity to mental stress in systemic hypertension. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, 91, 3857–3865. doi:10.1210/jc.2005-2586.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hooria Jazaieri
    • 1
  • Kelly McGonigal
    • 2
  • Thupten Jinpa
    • 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 Research and EducationPalo AltoUSA
  3. 3.School of MedicineStanford UniversityStanfordUSA

Personalised recommendations