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date: 04 June 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter reviews the fast-growing body of research on the personal and interpersonal benefits of compassion, discussing its evolutionary roots and distinguishing it from similar feelings states such as empathy. It reviews research that examines compassion as a trait, as a type of meditation practice, as a feature of organizations, and discusses intervention programs designed to enhance compassion for others. It provides an overview of research on the psychological health benefits of self-compassion, including its role in motivation, resilience, and relationship functioning, while also distinguishing the construct from self-esteem. Training programs designed to increase self-compassion are discussed. It considers future research directions, including the role culture plays in the prevalence and expression of compassion, the developmental trajectory of compassion and how compassion might be taught to youth, and a consideration of the complex relation between compassion for self and others.

Keywords: compassion, self-compassion, self-compassion scale, kindness, empathy, prosocial behavior, well-being, training, loving-kindness, meditation

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