Compassion-based meditation in African Americans: Self-criticism mediates changes in depression.
Johnson, S.B., Goodnight, B.L., Zhang, H., Daboin, I., Patterson, B., & Kaslow, N.J.
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.