The effect of loving-kindness meditation on positive emotions: a meta-analytic review

Zeng, Xianglong, Chiu, Cleo P.K., Wang, Rong, Oei, Tian P.S., and Leung, Freedom Y.K. (2015) The effect of loving-kindness meditation on positive emotions: a meta-analytic review. Frontiers in Psychology, 6. 1693. pp. 1-14.

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While it has been suggested that loving-kindness meditation (LKM) is an effective practice for promoting positive emotions, the empirical evidence in the literature remains unclear. Here, we provide a systematic review of 24 empirical studies (N = 1759) on LKM with self-reported positive emotions. The effect of LKM on positive emotions was estimated with meta-analysis, and the influence of variations across LKM interventions was further explored with subgroup analysis and meta-regression. The meta-analysis showed that (1) medium effect sizes for LKM interventions on daily positive emotions in both wait-list controlled RCTs and non-RCT studies; and (2) small to large effect sizes for the on-going practice of LKM on immediate positive emotions across different comparisons. Further analysis showed that (1) interventions focused on loving-kindness had medium effect size, but interventions focused on compassion showed small effect sizes; (2) the length of interventions and the time spent on meditation did not influence the effect sizes, but the studies without didactic components in interventions had small effect sizes. A few individual studies reported that the nature of positive emotions and individual differences also influenced the results. In sum, LKM practice and interventions are effective in enhancing positive emotions, but more studies are needed to identify the active components of the interventions, to compare different psychological operations, and to explore the applicability in clinical populations.

Item ID: 41292
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1664-1078
Keywords: positive emotion, loving-kindness, compassion, Buddhism, meditation, four immeasurables
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© 2015 Zeng, Chiu, Wang, Oei and Leung. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

Date Deposited: 16 Nov 2015 01:04
FoR Codes: 17 PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES > 1701 Psychology > 170106 Health, Clinical and Counselling Psychology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9202 Health and Support Services > 920209 Mental Health Services @ 100%
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