The Research Design Associates Blog

(compassion meditation)

Compassion Training a Promising Prevention Strategy for At-Risk Adolescents

Children in foster care experience higher rates of adverse life experiences than do children in the general population, resulting in a host of psychological and social problems that extend well beyond their years in foster care. Studies have shown that children in foster care have higher rates of chronic illness and developmental disability, and one recent study found that children in foster care report lifetime rates of post-traumatic stress disorder similar to that of US war veterans. Those foster children who meditated more had the greatest reductions in inflammation. Meditation appears to be an acceptable intervention for foster children with the potential to improve interpersonal functioning and perhaps to reduce the long-term biological consequences of chronic stress. The emphasis of compassion meditation on striving for interpersonal harmony appears to be particularly salient for this population.

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7.19.2012

Can Meditation Help High-risk Populations Like Adolescents in Foster Care?

Compassion meditation may positively impact inflammatory measures relevant to health in adolescents at high risk for poor adult functioning. In my next blog, I will present results for the study’s psychosocial outcomes such as measures of anxiety and depression.While much attention has been paid to meditation practices that emphasize calming the mind, improving focused attention, or developing mindfulness, less is known about meditation practices that foster compassion. One of my research teams, however, has been investigating whether compassion meditation can affect our immune and behavioral responses to stress. We just learned that the results of our study of compassion meditation with foster care program adolescents will be published in a forthcoming issue of the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology.

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7.12.2012