Compassion-Based Meditation in African Americans: Self-Criticism Mediates Changes in Depression

Suicide Life Threat Behav. 2018 Apr;48(2):160-168. doi: 10.1111/sltb.12347. Epub 2017 Mar 21.

Abstract

This study examines self-criticism as a mechanism through which compassion meditation reduces depressive symptoms in low-income African American men and women (N = 59) who had recently attempted suicide. After completing several measures, including the Levels of Self-Criticism Scale and Beck Depression Inventory-II, participants were randomly assigned to receive either a six-session compassion meditation (CM) group (Grady Compassion and Meditation Program) or a six-session support group. As predicted, path analysis results showed that treatment condition led to changes in self-criticism from pre- to posttreatment, with those receiving CM showing greater reductions in levels of self-criticism than those randomized to the support group. Path analyses also revealed that changes in self-criticism fully mediated the link between condition and changes in depressive symptoms. These findings highlight the importance and value of targeting levels of self-criticism in compassion-based interventions to reduce the depressive symptoms of suicidal African Americans.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • African Americans / psychology*
  • Bipolar Disorder / diagnosis
  • Bipolar Disorder / psychology
  • Borderline Personality Disorder / diagnosis
  • Borderline Personality Disorder / psychology
  • Depressive Disorder / diagnosis
  • Depressive Disorder / ethnology
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology*
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / diagnosis
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / psychology
  • Empathy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Meditation / methods*
  • Meditation / psychology
  • Middle Aged
  • Poverty / ethnology
  • Poverty / psychology*
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Self-Assessment*