A Wait-List Randomized Controlled Trial of Loving-Kindness Meditation Programme for Self-Criticism

Ben Shahar*, Ohad Szepsenwol, Sigal Zilcha-Mano, Netalee Haim, Orly Zamir, Simi Levi-Yeshuvi, Nava Levit-Binnun

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

95 Scopus citations


Self-criticism is a vulnerability risk factor for a number of psychological disorders, and it predicts poor response to psychological and pharmacological treatments. In the current study, we evaluated the efficacy of a loving-kindness meditation (LKM) programme designed to increase self-compassion in a sample of self-critical individuals. Thirty-eight individuals with high scores on the self-critical perfectionism subscale of the Dysfunctional Attitude Scale were randomized to an LKM condition (n=19) or a wait-list (WL) condition (n=19). Measures of self-criticism, self-compassion and psychological distress were administered before and immediately following the intervention (LKM or WL). WL participants received the intervention immediately after the waiting period. Both groups were assessed 3months post-intervention. Intent-to-treat (n=38) and per-protocol analyses (n=32) showed significant reductions in self-criticism and depressive symptoms as well as significant increases in self-compassion and positive emotions in the LKM condition compared with the WL condition. A follow-up per-protocol analysis in both groups together (n=20) showed that these gains were maintained 3months after the intervention. These preliminary results suggest that LKM may be efficacious in alleviating self-criticism, increasing self-compassion and improving depressive symptoms among self-critical individuals.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)346-356
Number of pages11
JournalClinical Psychology and Psychotherapy
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2015
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.


  • Loving-kindness meditation
  • Randomized clinical trial
  • Self-compassion
  • Self-criticism


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