Investigating Self-Compassion and Empathy in the Context of an Internet-Delivered Mindfulness-Based Exposure InterventionPublic Deposited
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It has been hypothesized that mindfulness-based programs with a primary focus on teaching self-compassion or empathy will have greater effects on self-compassion and empathy than will mindfulness-based exposure programs, which focus primarily on enhancing present moment awareness and reducing distress. However, because research on mindfulness-based exposure programs has centered on their potential to reduce distress and facilitate exposures, their effects on self-compassion and empathy are unknown. The current study’s goal was therefore to determine the effects of the Working with Difficulty Meditation, a mindfulness-based exposure program, on self-compassion and empathy through an Internet-based treatment study. Five participants were randomly assigned to the meditation group or the waitlist control group, which waited two weeks before beginning the meditation. Once given access to the meditation, participants were asked to complete at least 10 meditations over 14 days. Participants in both groups also completed the Self-Compassion Scale and the Interpersonal Reactivity Scale at three time points, providing measures of self-compassion and empathy, respectively. Results indicated no significant increases in self-compassion or empathy for either group, with no significant interaction between group and time. These results fail to provide support for the meditation enhancing self-compassion or empathy, but, with five participants, the findings should be interpreted with caution. Additionally, because participant adherence appeared to be low, it will be important for future studies of related interventions to find ways to better monitor and encourage adherence.
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