Exploring self-compassion and empathy in the context of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR)
Stress and Health
Format: Journal Article
Publication Year: 2010
Pages: 359 - 371
Source ID: shanti-sources-64831
Abstract: Mindfulness‐based stress reduction (MBSR) programmes have demonstrated beneficial outcomes in a variety of populations. Self‐compassion and empathy have theoretical connections to mindfulness, the key element of the MBSR programme; however, previous studies examining the programme's impact on self‐compassion or empathy have demonstrated mixed results. This study examined the impact of MBSR on self‐compassion and empathy, as well as on mindfulness, symptoms of stress, mood disturbance and spirituality in a community sample. Significant reductions in symptoms of stress and mood disturbance, as well as increases in mindfulness, spirituality and self‐compassion were observed after programme participation. With regards to empathy, a significant increase was seen in perspective taking and a significant decrease in personal distress; no significant change was observed for empathic concern. Changes in self‐compassion were predicted by changes in mindfulness. Self‐compassion and aspects of empathy revealed strong associations with psychological functioning. Implications of MBSR as an intervention for enhancing self‐compassion and empathy are discussed.