, Volume 8, Issue 3, pp 565–571 | Cite as

Does Loving-Kindness Meditation Reduce Anxiety? Results from a Randomized Controlled Trial

  • David T. Weibel
  • Andrew S. McClintockEmail author
  • Timothy Anderson


Although loving-kindness meditation (LKM) has shown some promise as a psychological intervention, little is known about the effectiveness of LKM for reducing one of the most prevalent mental health problems: anxiety. To build knowledge in this area, we conducted a randomized controlled trial, assigning non-clinical undergraduates to either a four-session, group-based LKM intervention (n = 38) or a waitlist control (n = 33). Self-reported anxiety, compassionate love, and self-compassion were assessed at pretreatment, posttreatment, and 8-week follow-up. Relative to control participants, participants in the LKM intervention reported higher compassionate love and self-compassion at posttreatment and higher self-kindness (a component of self-compassion) at follow-up. Anxiety ratings did not significantly differ between conditions at posttreatment or follow-up. Study limitations and directions for future research are discussed.


Loving-kindness Meditation Anxiety Compassionate love Self-compassion Self-kindness 


Compliance with Ethical Standards


This study was not externally funded.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participates were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • David T. Weibel
    • 1
  • Andrew S. McClintock
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Timothy Anderson
    • 1
  1. 1.Ohio UniversityAthensUSA
  2. 2.Duke University Medical CenterDurhamUSA

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