Project

Compassion in Education: Evaluating Compassion-Based interventions with teachers, support staff and pupils/students of all ages

Goal: Compassion-based approaches within education settings potentially offer a means of generating greater psychological well-being for students, staff, parents and the wider community. However, to date no rigorous evaluation of such CMT evaluations within educational settings has been progressed. Thus the purpose of this research is to:

I) Progress compassion-based interventions across different educational sectors and with different populations (e.g. staff, pupils, HE students)
II) Assess the feasibility of conducting compassion-based interventions in educational settings/sectors as well as evaluate their efficacy.
III) Produce curriculums that are easy to train in and, as such, are scalable (i.e. can be used by others in their educational practices).

Methods: Mixed methods

Date: 1 September 2016

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Project log

Frances A Maratos
added a research item
There is growing evidence that the cultivation of compassion focused motives and emotions has profound effects on mental health and well-being. This chapter outlines the importance of embedding compassion in school and educational settings for pupils/students, those who teach them, and for the contextual organisation of education. Compassion-based initiatives (CBIs) guide staff and pupils to understand the nature of their own minds, and that of others. This is in particular respect to managing emotions and the adverse effects of the competitive nature of education, which can lead to mental health issues in pupils and teachers. This chapter explores theory and research as to the nature of compassion as both a personal and social process and reviews the utility of specifically developed compassionate initiatives for teachers, Higher Education students and school-aged pupils. The chapter culminates in offering practical advice and guidance for cultivating a compassionate school ethos and includes the recommendation of specific exercises and practices taken from CBI curricula.
Frances A Maratos
added a research item
There are many measures available that survey positive and negative emotional indicators of wellbeing in children and adolescents [1]. In fact, our work identifies 98 measures, designed to measure negative self-emotions in youth populations [2]. However, only eight of these measures incorporated a negative self-referential emotion item or subscale; that is, an item, or items, where the subject and the reference are directed toward the self in the final measure. This is important because negative self-referential emotions, especially self-criticism, are key antecedents of mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression and eating disorders [3]. In this commentary, we discuss why measures relating to self-critical emotions are fundamental for children and adolescents, and much needed to comprehensively evaluate mental health and emotional wellbeing in youth. We believe our considerations here will enable scholars to: (i) develop robust self-criticism measures for children and adolescent populations, and (ii) reliably evaluate social and emotional interventions employed in schools and beyond, that are aimed at improving wellbeing through, in part, addressing self-critical thinking styles (e.g., compassion-based interventions).
Frances A Maratos
added a research item
Objectives Mounting research has supported the beneficial effects of compassion-based interventions for improving psychosocial and physiological well-being and mental health. Teachers present a high risk of professional stress, which negatively impacts their mental health and professional performance. It is crucial to make compassion cultivation a focus in educational settings, supporting teachers in coping with the school context’s challenges, and promoting their mental well-being. This study aims to test the feasibility of the Compassionate Mind Training programme for Teachers (CMT-T), as well as to preliminary explore possible mechanisms of change. Methods Participants were 31 teachers from one public school in the centre region of Portugal, who underwent the CMT-T, a six-module Compassionate Mind Training group intervention for teachers. Feasibility was assessed in six domains (acceptability, implementation, practicality, adaptation, integration, and preliminary effectiveness), using self-reports, overall programme assessment, attrition, attendance, and home practice. Using a pre-post within-subject design, changes were assessed in self-reported psychological distress, burnout, well-being, compassion, and self-criticism. Mediation analysis for repeated measures designs was used to explore mechanisms of change. Results The CMT-T was feasible in all the six domains. Participants revealed significant decreases in depression, stress, and fears of compassion to others, as well as significant increases in compassion to others, self-compassion, and compassion to others’ motivations and actions after the CMT-T intervention. When self-criticism was controlled, decreases in burnout and increases in satisfaction with professional life, and self-compassion, were also found. Fears of compassion for others mediated the impact of CMT-T on teachers’ burnout, and self-compassion mediated the intervention effect on psychological well-being. Conclusions This pilot study provides evidence that CMT-T is feasible and may be effective in promoting teachers’ compassionate motivations, attributes, and actions towards others and themselves and improving their mental health and well-being. These promising findings warrant further investigation within a randomized controlled trial.
Frances A Maratos
added an update
Frances A Maratos
added a research item
The crisis in child and adolescent mental health and wellbeing has prompted the development of school and community-based interventions to tackle negative emotions towards the self. Providing an evidence-base for such interventions is therefore a priority for policy makers and practitioners. This paper presents the first systematic review of self-referential and self-report measures of negative emotions for use with non-clinical child/adolescent populations, and evaluation of their psychometric properties. A systematic search of electronic databases and grey literature was conducted. Peer reviewed articles that introduced a new measure or included psychometric evaluation of a negative self-referential emotion for children and/or adolescents were identified. Study characteristics were extracted, and psychometric properties rated using internationally recognised quality criteria. Initially, 98 measures designed for evaluating children and adolescents’ negative self-referential emotions were found. Measures were primarily excluded if they were intended for clinical diagnosis or did not focus on self-referential emotions. The remaining eight measures (Brief Shame and Guilt Questionnaire; Self-Consciousness Scale-Children; Shame and Guilt Scale for Adolescents; Test of Self-Conscious Affect- Adolescents; The Child-Adolescent Perfectionism Scale [CAPS]; Child and Adolescent Dysfunctional Attitudes Scale Revised; Children Automatic Thoughts Scale [CATS]; Negative Affect Self-Statement Questionnaire) were organised into domains consisting of self-conscious emotions, self-oriented perfectionism and negative self-cognitions. Psychometric quality ratings identified the CAPS (Flett et al. in J Psychoeduc Assess 34:634–652, 2016) and the CATS (Schniering and Rapee in Behav Res Ther 40:1091–1109, 2002) as having the strongest psychometric qualities. However, all reviewed measures lacked full evaluation of essential psychometric properties. Our review revealed a paucity of self-referential emotional measures suitable for assessing adverse negative self-referential emotions in general child and adolescent populations. Measures suitable for use in non-clinical samples were identified, but these require further evaluation and/or new scale developments are needed. The psychometric findings and methodological issues identified will guide researchers and practitioners to make evidence-based decisions in order to select optimal measures.
Frances A Maratos
added a research item
Given current retention and well-being crises within the teaching profession worldwide, this research sought to explore implementation efficacy of a Compassion Mind Training (CMT) programme in cross-cultural school-settings. A 6-module CMT curriculum was implemented in teaching staff of two primary schools in the UK (N=76) and one primary school in Portugal (N=41). Results revealed that high-quality implementation was achieved across the UK and Portuguese cohorts, with the majority of staff providing extremely positive ratings regarding all aspects of module content, delivery, and interest/relevance. Moreover, recommendation of the CMT to others was the modal response across cohorts. These findings indicate that CMT in school settings has international appeal and utility in helping educators manage educational-based stresses.
Frances A Maratos
added an update
The first in a series of papers and book chapters originating from the Compassion in Schools project.
 
Frances A Maratos
added a research item
Objectives Teacher retention is a key issue facing schools, with stress, student behavior, current competitive policies, and practices resulting in many leaving within the first 5 years of qualification. Consequently, recent in-school research initiatives have focused on resilience training, although the quality of such conducted studies is debated. Drawn from compassion-focused therapy (CFT), this study set out to explore a six-module compassionate mind training (CMT) program with school staff to improve well-being. Methods As part of their continued professional development, over 70 teachers and support staff took part in the CMT, with a mixed-measures AAB quantitative and qualitative design employed. This enabled us to explore both implementation effectiveness and outcome effectiveness in terms of parameters of well-being. Results The initiative was well received with the majority of staff reporting positively on their experiences of the curriculum and practices. Additionally, exercise practice was associated with significant increases in self-compassion (p < 0.01) and significant decreases in self-criticism (p < 0.05). Thematic analyses further revealed benefits of CMT for dealing with emotional difficulties. Conclusions As a feasibility study, our results demonstrate many benefits of CMT in educational settings. CMT may hold promise as a way of helping those in education counteract the current competition-based nature of education, especially that which contributes to negative changes in well-being. Given this, future research should employ a control group design, a larger sample size, and a range of well-being measures at follow-up, to fully evaluate the utility of CMT in educational settings.
Frances A Maratos
added an update
The University of Derby and the Compassionate Mind Foundation are pleased to announce our inaugural Compassion in Schools for educator’s day. Bringing together a community of experts, researchers and experienced practitioners, this part-subsidised UoD and CMF event is for anyone working within or linked to education wishing to gain knowledge of, and/or embed compassionate practice skills into their teaching and/or curriculum. The event is equivalent to 6 hours CPD and includes ‘hands-on’ workshops focused on:
Ø CFT approaches for all Pupils
Ø Compassion Approaches for special education needs pupils
Ø Compassion Approaches for pupils with mental health issues
Ø Embodying the Compassionate Self
Ø Simple strategies to engender compassion in the classroom
Ø Mindfulness Approaches
In addition, we will open with three short keynotes by our very own Professor Paul Gilbert and Dr Mary Welford, as well as Professor Katherine Weare, who will also be running the Mindfulness workshop. As this event is part-subsidised by the University of Derby and the Compassionate Mind Foundation, we can offer the full day with refreshments and a lunch buffet at the following 50% discounted rates:
Early Bird Registration pre July 31st 2019: £70 (rather than £140)
Standard Registration: £95 (rather than £190)
When: 8th November 2019
Where: City Centre Location, Derby
 
Frances A Maratos
added an update
Applications are invited for two 18-month, full-time, University of Derby-funded, Postdoctoral Research Fellowships in compassion-related research. For both posts, candidates should have a PhD in Psychology or a related discipline, knowledge of compassion-based interventions, experience with data collection, analysis and report writing. Experience of writing for publication in high impact psychology journals will be an advantage.
For the fellowship on interventions with burnout populations, candidates should have prior experience working with high emotional burnout populations and/or prior experience with compassion based interventions. The successful applicant will work on a project to evaluate compassionate mind training (CMT) initiatives with high emotional burnout populations, building upon previous research by Dr Maratos and colleauges. To expand, the job will involve modifying a pre-existing CMT initiative for use with further burnout populations; evaluating the intervention/s using qualitative, quantitative and psychobiological measures; partaking in dissemination of the research; and using the findings to inform further funding applications. For further information and to apply online, go to https://jobs.derby.ac.uk/0274-18 For informal enquiries, contact Dr Frances Maratos, f.maratos@derby.ac.uk
For the fellowship on problem analgesic use, candidates should also have knowledge or experience of analgesic use and dependence, and experience with online interventions. The successful applicant will work on a project to develop and evaluate self-compassion interventions for people with problem analgesic use. The job will involve developing online interventions informed by compassion-focused therapy and compassionate mind training; conducting a series of trials to evaluate each intervention; and using the results to develop a combined intervention platform ready for a large-scale, externally funded trial. For further information and to apply online, go to https://jobs.derby.ac.uk/0264-18 For informal enquiries, contact Professor James Elander, j.elander@derby.ac.uk
For information about the University of Derby’s Centre for Psychological Research, see http://www.derby.ac.uk/science/research/centres-groups/psychological/ Closing Date: 23.59pm, Monday 11th June Interview Date: Expected to be Thursday 12th 2018 Both posts will commence in September 2018.
 
Frances A Maratos
added an update
For more on this project see: http://resilientminds.ie/?p=665
 
Frances A Maratos
added an update
Frances A Maratos
added an update
We are currently wanting to recruit a research assistant to work on this project with us (circa 2.5 days per week for 6 months - £16,961 to £19,485 per annum pro rata ). For more information please see: https://jobs.derby.ac.uk/vacancy.aspx?ref=0110-16
 
Frances A Maratos
added a project goal
Compassion-based approaches within education settings potentially offer a means of generating greater psychological well-being for students, staff, parents and the wider community. However, to date no rigorous evaluation of such CMT evaluations within educational settings has been progressed. Thus the purpose of this research is to:
I) Progress compassion-based interventions across different educational sectors and with different populations (e.g. staff, pupils, HE students)
II) Assess the feasibility of conducting compassion-based interventions in educational settings/sectors as well as evaluate their efficacy.
III) Produce curriculums that are easy to train in and, as such, are scalable (i.e. can be used by others in their educational practices).