Research Article: Mediating effect of mindfulness cognition on the development of empathy in a university context

Date Published: April 18, 2019

Publisher: Public Library of Science

Author(s): Raquel De la Fuente-Anuncibay, Ángela González-Barbadillo, Jerónimo González-Bernal, Esther Cubo, Juan P. PizarroRuiz, Katya C. Fernandez.


Numerous interventions propose mindfulness training as a means of improving empathy. Our aim is to analyse the relationship between mindfulness practice and empathy through the mediating process of trait mindfulness. This sample comprised 264 undergraduate students (x¯=24,13years, SD = 11,39). The instruments used were Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire and Toronto Empathy Questionnaire. The indirect effect was calculated using 10.000 bootstrap samples for the bootstrap confidence intervals corrected for bias. Empathy improvement is mediated by changes in the cognitions derived from mindfulness (B = .346, p<.01). The direct effect of mindfulness practice on empathy disappears in presence of this mediator (B = .133, p>.05). Mindfulness interventions that aim to improve empathy should focus on three of its components; observing, describing and nonreactivity to inner experience. Given the significance of the results, the research must be extended to larger samples.

Partial Text

Over the past decade, mindfulness-based interventions have been seen to offer promising therapeutic results throughout the life cycle, from infancy to senescence [1–3].

The main objective of this work is to confirm, from the total measurement of the cognitions of the mindfulness construct, the relationship between practicing mindfulness (in informal contexts) and improving empathy.

The findings found in this paper seem to indicate that mindfulness practices in informal settings involve modifications in mindfulness cognition, and that these also influence the development of empathy.




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