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Mental health, religion & culture.

Compassionate love has been defined as a love that is centered on the good of the other. This construct is developed out of emotional and cognitive factors that can be influenced by both cultural and social environments. However, little research has been done on interventions that may help sustain compassionate love in real-life situations. Using passage meditation may be one useful intervention. Meditation may help to increase feelings of empathy, altruism, and forgiveness. Stress reduction may mediate changes in compassionate love as well other related constructs. It was also hypothesized that spiritual and religious variables would be associated with an increase in compassionate love.

The Eight-Point Program of Passage Meditation (EPP) that emphasized issues related to health care was used in hospital settings in order to help health professionals learn to practice passage meditation. There was an intervention group and a control group. They conducted a pretest and three post-tests: one at the end of training, 8 weeks later, and 19 weeks later. They measured compassionate love, altruism, empathy, and forgiveness as outcome variables. They also obtained self-report ratings of spirituality and social desirability, perceived stress, adherence to EPP practices, and care-giving self-efficacy.

They found modest changes in compassionate love from pre to post intervention. Although they found some immediate treatment effects, these did not remain constant over time. The effect on empathy did not have immediate treatment effects, but became significant at 8 weeks post treatment. They found that adherence to the EPP mediated the effects of compassionate love. Stress reductions also mediated changes in compassionate love and other outcomes.

This study helps to see how EPP as an intervention for compassionate love can work at an individual, organizational or community level. This research also helps gain an u nderstanding of meditation and what it can be used for in the future. Most research has focused on the physiological benefits of meditation, but few have investigated the impact on strengths, virtues and other positive psychological characteristics. Limitations include a lack of generalizability and some methological issues. However, this study provides valuable information for training health professionals from a wide number of fields.

Oman, D., Thoresen, C. E., & Hedberg, J.

Does passage meditation foster compassionate love among health professionals?: A randomized trial. Volume 13, 129-154. (2010).

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Title Annotation:Journal File
Author:D, Oman; C. E, Thorcsen; J, & Hedberg
Publication:Journal of Psychology and Theology
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 22, 2014
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