Compassion-based interventions for people with long-term physical conditions: a mixed methods systematic review

J. Austin*, C. H. C. Drossaert, M. J. Schroevers, R. Sanderman, J. N. Kirby, E. T. Bohlmeijer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
36 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Objective: Compassion-based interventions show promise in enhancing well-being and reducing distress, but little is known about their applications for people with long-term physical conditions. This study explores compassion-based interventions for this population: what are their differing elements (content, structure, tailoring, use of technology), feasibility and acceptability, effects and experienced benefits? Design: A mixed-methods systematic review was conducted. Four bibliographic databases were searched without study design restrictions. Meta-synthesis was used to integrate quantitative results of effects and qualitative results of experienced benefits. Results: Twenty studies met the inclusion criteria. Most studies targeted people with cancer or persistent pain. Interventions were either comprehensive with 6-12 face-to-face sessions, or brief based on a single compassion exercise. Feasibility and accessibility were highly rated by participants. Amongst a plethora of outcomes, reductions in depression and anxiety were the most common findings. Our qualitative synthesis yielded experienced benefits of (1) acceptance of the condition; (2) improved emotion regulation skills; (3) reduced feelings of isolation. There was minimal overlap between quantitative and qualitative outcomes. Conclusion: While the field is still in its infancy, this review highlights the potential benefits of compassion-based interventions for people with long-term physical conditions and discusses recommendations for further intervention research and development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-42
Number of pages27
JournalPsychology & Health
Volume36
Issue number1
Early online date2-Mar-2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan-2021

Keywords

  • Compassion
  • long-term physical conditions
  • intervention
  • systematic review
  • mixed methods
  • RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED-TRIAL
  • BREAST-CANCER SURVIVORS
  • SELF-COMPASSION
  • EMOTION REGULATION
  • MAJOR DEPRESSION
  • CHRONIC DISEASE
  • HEALTH
  • FEASIBILITY
  • DISTRESS
  • ILLNESS

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