Open Access Peer-reviewed Research Article

An intervention study examining the effectiveness of loving kindness meditation in reducing depressive symptoms: Compassionate coping as a mediator?

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Mike Silhan corresponding author


Aim: To explore whether the LKM intervention has the potential to decrease depression and increase self-compassion. Self-compassionate coping was examined as a mediating variable.
Methods: A sample of 57 university students underwent a pretest-posttest design. Self-compassion was measured with the Self-Compassion Scale, depression with the Patient Health Questionnaire – 9, and self-compassionate coping was assessed using the Self-Compassionate Coping Measure. Participants completed all measures at both pre and posttest. Between both measurement moments there were 12 days in which participants followed either the LKM or a control exercise daily. Repeated measures ANOVAs and a simple mediation analysis were performed.
Results: Over time, both groups decreased in their depression and increased in their self-compassion scores. Assignment to the LKM condition did not result in significantly higher self-compassion scores compared to control. We found a significant effect of LKM for depressive symptoms only when controlling for successfully completed homework exercises. Self-Compassionate coping did not emerge as significant mediator in our statistical analysis.
Conclusion: The results indicate a mixed picture regarding the efficacy of LKM in reducing depression and increasing self-compassion. Both conditions were possibly too similar and involved helpful elements. Further research into the antidepressant utility of LKM is warranted to understand the exact mechanisms of action.

loving kindness meditation, depression, Self-Compassion, coping styles, focused imagery

Article Details

How to Cite
Silhan, M. (2022). An intervention study examining the effectiveness of loving kindness meditation in reducing depressive symptoms: Compassionate coping as a mediator?. Advances in Health and Behavior, 5(1), 215-225.


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