Compassion-Based Interventions for People with Long-Term Physical Conditions: a Mixed Methods Systematic Review

Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentation


Objective. Compassion-based interventions show promise in enhancing well-being and
reducing distress, however little is known about their applications for people with long-term
physical conditions. The current study investigates compassion-based interventions for this
population: what are their differing elements (content, structure, tailoring, use of
technology), feasibility and acceptability, effects and experienced benefits?

Methods. A mixed-methods systematic review was conducted. Four bibliographic databases
were searched without time or 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, of which most 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. Participants highly rated feasibility and accessibility. Amongst a plethora of outcomes, reductions in depression and
anxiety were the most common findings. Our qualitative synthesis yielded participants’
perceived benefits of (1) acceptance of the condition; (2) improved emotion regulation skills; (3)
reduced feelings of isolation. Little overlap was found 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.
Period30 Jan 2020
Event title9th Annual Conference of the Association for Researchers in Psychology and health (ARPH) 2020
Event typeConference
Conference number9
OrganiserAssociation for Researchers in Psychology and Health (ARPH)
LocationEgmond aan Zee, NetherlandsShow on map