Short Mindfulness Meditation Increases Help-Giving Intention Towards a Stranger in Distress

Yael Malin*, Thomas P. Gumpel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objectives: Mindfulness practice increases personal well-being, yet its effect on prosocial behaviors is not well-established. Initial studies suggest that an 8-week mindfulness program has a positive effect on help-giving towards a stranger in distress and that a short meditation promotes care towards an ostracized member. This research aims at examining whether a short mindfulness intervention promotes help-giving intention towards a stranger in distress and to understand the role of empathy in this effect. Methods: A total of 210 undergraduate students were randomly assigned to two sessions of mindfulness practice, music, or lecture control conditions. Participants then listened to a sham interview with a student dealing with a chronic illness and were surveyed on their willingness to volunteer in an organization helping such students. Baseline dispositional empathy and consequent empathic care scales were completed to determine their effect. Results: A significantly higher percentage of participants were willing to provide help in the mindfulness condition (50.8%), as compared to the music (31.2%) and the lecture (31%) conditions, χ2 (2, N = 189) = 9.51, p =.009. A significantly positive effect of dispositional empathy on empathic care was found in the mindfulness group (b = 1.40, SE =.31, p <.001), but not in the control groups. Conclusions: This study showed that short mindfulness practice increases help-giving intention as compared to active control groups and moderates the association between dispositional empathy and empathic care. Future research including long-term follow-up will strengthen these findings.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)2337-2346
Number of pages10
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.


  • Empathic care
  • Empathy
  • Help-Giving
  • Interpersonal relationships
  • Meditation
  • Mindfulness
  • Prosociality


Dive into the research topics of 'Short Mindfulness Meditation Increases Help-Giving Intention Towards a Stranger in Distress'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this