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Randomized Controlled Trial
. 2008 Nov;95(5):1045-1062.
doi: 10.1037/a0013262.

Open Hearts Build Lives: Positive Emotions, Induced Through Loving-Kindness Meditation, Build Consequential Personal Resources

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Free PMC article
Randomized Controlled Trial

Open Hearts Build Lives: Positive Emotions, Induced Through Loving-Kindness Meditation, Build Consequential Personal Resources

Barbara L Fredrickson et al. J Pers Soc Psychol. .
Free PMC article

Abstract

B. L. Fredrickson's (1998, 2001) broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions asserts that people's daily experiences of positive emotions compound over time to build a variety of consequential personal resources. The authors tested this build hypothesis in a field experiment with working adults (n = 139), half of whom were randomly-assigned to begin a practice of loving-kindness meditation. Results showed that this meditation practice produced increases over time in daily experiences of positive emotions, which, in turn, produced increases in a wide range of personal resources (e.g., increased mindfulness, purpose in life, social support, decreased illness symptoms). In turn, these increments in personal resources predicted increased life satisfaction and reduced depressive symptoms. Discussion centers on how positive emotions are the mechanism of change for the type of mind-training practice studied here and how loving-kindness meditation is an intervention strategy that produces positive emotions in a way that outpaces the hedonic treadmill effect.

Figures

Figure 1
Figure 1
Conceptual model depicting predicted causal paths between loving-kindness meditation, change in positive emotions, change in resources, and change in life satisfaction.
Figure 2
Figure 2
Positive emotions by experimental condition.
Figure 3
Figure 3
Combined latent trajectory and path-analysis model. Avg. daily pos. emo. = average daily positive emotion; PE = positive emotion; SWLS = Satisfaction With Life Scale (Diener, Emmons, Larsen, & Griffin, 1985).

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