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Promoting Altruism Through Meditation: An 8-Week Randomized Controlled Pilot Study

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of a Buddhist meditation intervention on empathy, perceived stress, mindfulness, self-compassion, and of particular interest, the dispositional tendency to feel empathic concern rather than personal distress when perceiving another as in need, termed altruistic orientation. Participants were randomly assigned to an intervention group (n = 20) or a waiting list control group (n = 22). Results indicated a trend towards increases in altruistic orientation in the intervention group—an increase that significantly correlated with meditation time, decreases in perceived stress, and increases in self-compassion and mindfulness. Additionally, compared to the controls, significant increases in mindfulness and self-compassion and a significant decrease in perceived stress were obtained for the intervention group.

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Correspondence to Daiva Daukantaitė.

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Wallmark, E., Safarzadeh, K., Daukantaitė, D. et al. Promoting Altruism Through Meditation: An 8-Week Randomized Controlled Pilot Study. Mindfulness 4, 223–234 (2013) doi:10.1007/s12671-012-0115-4

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Keywords

  • Empathy
  • Altruism
  • Stress
  • Mindfulness
  • Self-compassion
  • Meditation