Does Loving-Kindness Meditation Reduce Anxiety? Results from a Randomized Controlled Trial
- 829 Downloads
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.
KeywordsLoving-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.
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 was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
- Cohen, J. (1988). Statistical power analysis for the behavioral sciences. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Earlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
- Desbordes, G., Negi, L. T., Pace, T. W. W., Wallace, B. A., Raison, C. L., & Schwartz, E. L. (2012). Effects of mindful-attention and compassion meditation training on amygdala response to emotional stimuli in an ordinary, non-meditative state. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2012.00292.PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- Gyatso, T. (2001). The compassionate life. Boston, MA: Wisdom Publications.Google Scholar
- Grant, B. F., Stinson, F. S., Dawson, D. A., Chou, S. P., Dufour, M. C., Pickering, R. P., & Kaplan, K. (2004). Prevalence and co-occurrence of substance use disorders and independent mood and anxiety disorders: results from the national epidemiologic survey on alcohol and related conditions. Archives of General Psychiatry, 61, 807–816.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Hanh, T. N. (1976). The miracle of mindfulness. Boston, MA: Beacon Press Books.Google Scholar
- Kabat-Zinn, J. (1994). Wherever you go, there you are: mindfulness meditation in everyday life. New York, NY: Hyperion.Google Scholar
- Kornfield, J. (1993). A path with heart: a guide through the perils and promises of spiritual life. New York, NY: Bantam Books.Google Scholar
- Kornfield, J. (2002). The art of forgiveness, lovingkindness, and peace. New York, NY: Bantam Books.Google Scholar
- Linehan, M. M. (1993). Cognitive-behavioral treatment of borderline personality disorder. New York, NY: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
- Neff, K. D. (2015). The self-compassion scale is a valid and theoretically coherent measure of self-compassion. Mindfulness, 1–11.Google Scholar
- Salzberg, S. (1995). Lovingkindness: the revolutionary art of happiness. Boston, MA: Shambhala.Google Scholar
- Spielberger, C. D., Gorsuch, R. L., Lushene, R., Vagg, P. R., & Jacobs, G. A. (1983). Manual for the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory. Palo Alto, CA: Consulting Psychologists Press.Google Scholar