Effect of kindness-based meditation (a meta-analysis)

Galante, J., Galante, I., Bekkers, M. J., & Gallacher, J. (2014). Effect of Kindness-Based Meditation on Health and Well-Being: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Journal of consulting and clinical psychology. Epub ahead of print.

From the Abstract. Kindness-based meditation (KBM) is a rubric covering meditation techniques developed to elicit kindness in a conscious way. Some techniques, for example, loving-kindness meditation and compassion meditation, have been included in programs aimed at improving health and well-being. Our aim was to systematically review and meta-analyze the evidence available from randomized controlled trials (RCTs) comparing the effects of KBM on health and well-being against passive and active control groups in patients and the general population.

Searches were completed in March 2013. Two reviewers applied predetermined eligibility criteria (RCTs, peer-reviewed publications, theses or conference proceedings, adult participants, KBM interventions) and extracted the data.

Twenty-two studies were included. KBM was moderately effective in decreasing self-reported depression and increasing mindfulness, compassion and self-compassion against passive controls. Positive emotions were increased against progressive relaxation. Exposure to KBM may initially be challenging for some people.

Conclusions: KBM showed evidence of benefits for the health of individuals and communities through its effects on well-being and social interaction. Further research including well-conducted large RCTs is warranted.

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