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