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Pilot Study of Compassion Meditation Training to Improve Well-being Among Older Adults.

  • Author(s): Malaktaris, Anne;
  • Lang, Ariel J;
  • Casmar, Pollyanna;
  • Baca, Selena;
  • Hurst, Samantha;
  • Jeste, Dilip V;
  • Palmer, Barton W
  • et al.
Abstract

Objectives

Compassion meditation (CM) training has demonstrated potential in improving well-being and psychosocial functioning. However, most prior studies of CM training have focused on younger adults. The generalizability of the effectiveness of CM training with older adults requires further study. This pilot study was intended to inform future randomized controlled studies of CM training in older adults.

Methods

Participants included 24 older adults who attended a 10-week group CM training. Exploratory outcome measures were administered prior to, during, and after the intervention. Participants also completed logs of mood and meditation practice, and provided descriptive comments in response to open-ended questions administered at the end of treatment.

Results

High treatment completion rates (87.5%) and reported adherence (85.7% of assigned meditation) were observed. Descriptive feedback from participants indicated older adults are interested in and capable of learning and applying new concepts and skills in support of their well-being. Pre- to post-intervention changes were explored with a variety of self-report measures. Weekly journals suggested increased feelings of love, closeness, or trust, and decreased feelings of stress, nervousness, or being overwhelmed.

Conclusions

These findings provide preliminary support for the feasibility of CM training in community-dwelling older adults, and suggest the need for future efficacy and effectiveness clinical trials.

Clinical implications

CM training offers potential benefits for improving well-being among older adults, and, as an example of a strengths-based approach, can be tailored to the specific needs of older adults.

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