Can compassion be defined and measured?

Strauss, C., Taylor, B. L., Gu, J., Kuyken, W., Baer, R., Jones, F., & Cavanagh, K. (2016). What is Compassion and How Can We Measure it? A Review of Definitions and Measures. Clinical Psychology Review. Full draft ahead of inclusion in an issue.

Highlights

  • Compassion is recognized as important across many sectors of society.
  • There is lack of consensus on definition and few self/observer-rated measures exist.
  • Five elements of compassion are proposed after consolidating existing definitions.
  • The psychometric properties of existing measures are poor, limiting their utility.
  • A new measure of compassion with robust psychometric properties is needed.
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Neurobiology of wisdom

mindfulness in schools

From Mindful Schools website. As the scope of science expands, concepts that were previously confined to the humanities are receiving scientific attention. One recent example of this trend is the scientific exploration of wisdom. Traditionally, discussions of wisdom have been confined to disciplines such as philosophy. Philosophy is, after all, literally the ‘love of wisdom.’

A few years ago, two psychiatrists from University of California San Diego published an article in the Archives of General Psychiatry titled, “Neurobiology of Wisdom.” They suggest that “wisdom is a unique psychological construct, not just a collection of desirable traits with a convenient unifying label.” The authors defined wisdom as six key components and discuss the neurobiological characteristics underlying each.

What is striking how these six components of wisdom dovetail with outcomes relevant to mindfulness practice. . . . more

Family-based mindful eating approach to youth obesity

Dalen, J., Brody, J. L., Staples, J. K., & Sedillo, D. A. (2015). Conceptual Framework for the Expansion of Behavioral Interventions for Youth Obesity: A Family-Based Mindful Eating Approach. Childhood Obesity. Abstract only. Online Ahead of Print.

Background: Currently, over 30% of US youth are overweight and 1 in 6 have metabolic syndrome, making youth obesity one of the major global health challenges of the 21st century. Few enduring treatment strategies have been identified in youth populations, and the majority of standard weight loss programs fail to adequately address the impact of psychological factors on eating behavior and the beneficial contribution of parental involvement in youth behavior change.

Methods: A critical need exists to expand treatment development efforts beyond traditional education and cognitive-behavioral programs and explore alternative treatment models for youth obesity. Meditation-based mindful eating programs represent a unique and novel scientific approach to the current youth obesity epidemic given that they address key psychological variables affecting weight.

Results: The recent expansion of mindfulness programs to include family relationships shows the immense potential for broadening the customarily individual focus of this intervention to include contextual factors thought to influence youth health outcomes.

Conclusions: This article provides an overview of how both mindful eating and family systems theory fits within a conceptual framework in order to guide development of a comprehensive family-based mindful eating program for overweight youth.