, Volume 6, Issue 5, pp 1161–1180 | Cite as

Buddhist-Derived Loving-Kindness and Compassion Meditation for the Treatment of Psychopathology: a Systematic Review

  • Edo ShoninEmail author
  • William Van Gordon
  • Angelo Compare
  • Masood Zangeneh
  • Mark D. Griffiths


Although clinical interest has predominantly focused on mindfulness meditation, interest into the clinical utility of Buddhist-derived loving-kindness meditation (LKM) and compassion meditation (CM) is also growing. This paper follows the preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analysis (PRISMA) guidelines and provides an evaluative systematic review of LKM and CM intervention studies. Five electronic academic databases were systematically searched to identify all intervention studies assessing changes in the symptom severity of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (text revision fourth edition) Axis I disorders in clinical samples and/or known concomitants thereof in subclinical/healthy samples. The comprehensive database search yielded 342 papers and 20 studies (comprising a total of 1,312 participants) were eligible for inclusion. The Quality Assessment Tool for Quantitative Studies was then used to assess study quality. Participants demonstrated significant improvements across five psychopathology-relevant outcome domains: (i) positive and negative affect, (ii) psychological distress, (iii) positive thinking, (iv) interpersonal relations, and (v) empathic accuracy. It is concluded that LKM and CM interventions may have utility for treating a variety of psychopathologies. However, to overcome obstacles to clinical integration, a lessons-learned approach is recommended whereby issues encountered during the (ongoing) operationalization of mindfulness interventions are duly considered. In particular, there is a need to establish accurate working definitions for LKM and CM.


Loving-kindness meditation Compassion meditation Mindfulness Psychopathology Buddhist-derived interventions 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Edo Shonin
    • 1
    Email author
  • William Van Gordon
    • 1
  • Angelo Compare
    • 2
  • Masood Zangeneh
    • 3
  • Mark D. Griffiths
    • 1
  1. 1.Psychology DivisionNottingham Trent UniversityNottinghamshireUK
  2. 2.Faculty of Human and Social SciencesUniversity of BergamoBergamoItaly
  3. 3.Factor-Inwentash, Faculty of Social WorkUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada

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