Does mindfulness decrease stress and foster empathy among nursing students?
ABSTRACT This pilot study of baccalaureate nursing students explored the effects of an 8-week mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) course on stress and empathy. The course was intended to provide students with tools to cope with personal and professional stress and to foster empathy through intrapersonal knowing. A convenience sample of 16 students participated in the course, used guided meditation audiotapes at home, and completed journal assignments. Stress and empathy were measured using paired sample t tests. Participation in the intervention significantly reduced students' anxiety (p > .05). Favorable trends were observed in a number of stress dimensions including attitude, time pressure, and total stress. Two dimensions of empathy--personal distress and fantasy--also demonstrated favorable downward trends. Regular home meditation was correlated with additional benefit. Participants reported using meditation in daily life and experiencing greater well-being and improved coping skills as a result of the program. Findings suggest that being mindful may also decrease tendencies to take on others' negative emotions. Coping with stress and fostering the affective domain are important facets of nursing education that may be facilitated by mindfulness training.
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ABSTRACT: This study used a survey to investigate the relationship between mindfulness and compassion fatigue and compassion satisfaction among 41 volunteers and professionals at an agency serving the traumatically bereaved. Compassion fatigue comprises two aspects: secondary traumatic stress and burnout. Because prior research suggests that compassion satisfaction may protect against compassion fatigue, the authors hypothesized that (a) mindfulness would be positively correlated with compassion satisfaction, (b) mindfulness would be inversely correlated with compassion fatigue, and (c) there would be differences between respondents with a personal history of traumatic bereavement and those with no such history. Correlation analyses supported the first two hypotheses; an independent means t test did not provide evidence for the latter hypothesis, although the number ofnontraumatically bereaved respondents was small. Overall, this sample showed surprisingly high levels of compassion satisfaction and low levels of compassion fatigue, even among respondents thought to be at higher risk of problems due to personal trauma. Implications of these findings are particularly relevant for social workers and other professionals employed in positions in which they encounter trauma and high emotional stress.Social work 02/2014; 59(1):34-41. DOI:10.1093/sw/swt044 · 1.15 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Past research has examined the relationship between religious beliefs and intergroup bias but has not investigated the relationship between specific religious practices and bias. The current work fills this gap by investigating differences in racial prejudice between individuals engaged in an active compassion-based meditation practice and those who have no experience with meditation. We found that a group of experienced compassion-based meditators (from a range of religious traditions) expressed less racial prejudice and more empathy compared to a group of participants who had no experience with meditation, and that differences in prejudice were mediated by empathy. These results suggest that compassion-based meditators express lower levels of explicit, racial prejudice than non-meditators and that these differences are explained by differences in empathy. The implications of our results as well as future directions for research are discussed.Mindfulness 01/2014; 5(2). DOI:10.1007/s12671-012-0159-5
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ABSTRACT: To describe pathways through which clinicians can more effectively respond to patients' emotions in ways that contribute to betterment of the patient's health and well-being. A representative review of literature on managing emotions in clinical consultations was conducted. A three-stage, conceptual model for assisting clinicians to more effectively address the challenges of recognizing, exploring, and managing cancer patients' emotional distress in the clinical encounter was developed. To enhance and enact recognition of patients' emotions, clinicians can engage in mindfulness, self-situational awareness, active listening, and facilitative communication. To enact exploration, clinicians can acknowledge and validate emotions and provide empathy. Finally, clinicians can provide information empathetically, identify therapeutic resources, and give referrals and interventions as needed to help lessen patients' emotional distress. This model serves as a framework for future research examining pathways that link clinicians' emotional cue recognition to patient-centered responses exploring a patient's emotional distress to therapeutic actions that contribute to improved psychological and emotional health. Specific communicative and cognitive strategies are presented that can help clinicians better recognize a patient's emotional distress and respond in ways that have therapeutic value.Patient Education and Counseling 10/2013; DOI:10.1016/j.pec.2013.09.025 · 2.60 Impact Factor