Compas-Y: A mixed methods pilot evaluation of a mobile self-compassion training for people with newly diagnosed cancer

Judith Austin*, Maya J. Schroevers, Jelle Van Dijk, Robbert Sanderman, Elin Børøsund, A. Machteld N. Wymenga, Ernst T. Bohlmeijer, Constance H.C. Drossaert

*Corresponding author for this work

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Objective: Compas-Y is a compassionate mind training app that was co-designed to be fully adapted to mobile technology and to people with newly diagnosed cancer. This study aimed to evaluate the use, appreciation and impact of the app. Methods: Seventy-one people with cancer who created an app account were included (38% breast cancer, 72% diagnosed <4 months ago, 76% received chemotherapy). Participants had very high baseline scores of self-compassion. In a convergent mixed methods design, back-end log-data (n = 71), pre-post surveys (n = 34) and semi-structured interviews (n = 23) collected for >8 weeks and were concurrently analysed using joint displays. Results: About half of the participants (45%) used 4 of the 6 modules. Compas-Y was highly appreciated, with all content considered relevant and a source of support. Experienced benefits related to improved mental health. Particularly, we found significant changes in anxiety, but not in depression or well-being. In the interviews, people reported experiencing more rest and more positive emotions due to using the app. Process benefits included significant reductions in self-criticism (inadequate self and self-blame), but not self-compassion. In the interviews, people reported improved self-compassion and less self-criticism, more self-awareness, recognition and support, and improved emotion regulation and coping. The surveys did not capture the full range of outcomes that participants reported in the interviews. Conclusions: Compas-Y is a highly appreciated mobile intervention that supported users in aspects of their mental health. Findings are discussed in terms of reach and adherence, app functionalities, co-design and tailoring of cancer-related and compassion-based eHealth.

Original languageEnglish
JournalDigital Health
Publication statusPublished - 19 Oct 2023


  • cancer
  • compassionate mind training
  • eHealth
  • mental well-being
  • mixed methods
  • Self-compassion


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