Associated with reduced PTSD symptoms and depression

Kearney, D. J., Malte, C. A., McManus, C., Martinez, M. E., Felleman, B., & Simpson, T. L. (2013). Loving‐Kindness Meditation for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: A Pilot Study. Journal of Traumatic Stress. Epub prior to publication. Abstract.

Excerpts: Loving-kindness meditation is a practice designed to enhance feelings of kindness and compassion for self and others. Loving-kindness meditation involves repetition of phrases of positive intention for self and others.

We undertook an open pilot trial of loving-kindness meditation for veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Measures of PTSD, depression, self-compassion, and mindfulness were obtained at baseline, after a 12-week loving-kindness meditation course, and 3 months later. Effect sizes were calculated from baseline to each follow-up point, and self-compassion was assessed as a mediator.

A large effect size was found for PTSD symptoms at 3-month follow-up, and a medium effect size was found for depression at 3-month follow-up. There was evidence of mediation of reductions in PTSD symptoms and depression by enhanced self-compassion.

Overall, loving-kindness meditation appeared safe and acceptable and was associated with reduced symptoms of PTSD and depression. Additional study of loving-kindness meditation for PTSD is warranted to determine whether the changes seen are due to the loving-kindness meditation intervention versus other influences, including concurrent receipt of other treatments.

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