Mindfulness meditation has shown benefits for increasing empathy and reducing stress in health professionals. This study examined the effect of a mindfulness-based intervention course on empathy in student therapists using a quasi-experimental design. Results indicated overall empathy as measured by the Interpersonal Reactivity Index (IRI), as well as Empathic Concern, a subscale of the IRI, increased significantly after 6 weeks for participants in the mindfulness course compared to control participants. Additionally, the mindfulness class showed increased scores on the Observe and Nonjudgment subscales of the Five Factor Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ) between Time 1 and Time 2. Also, the control group had increased scores on the Nonjudgment subscale of the FFMQ from Time 1 to Time 2. According to the Mindful Awareness Attention Scale (MAAS) and the Describe, Act with Awareness and Nonreactivity subscales of the FFMQ, there were no significant differences in mindfulness between the intervention and control group from Time 1 to Time 2. These findings support the hypothesis that participation in a mindfulness course increases empathy, but the relationships between mindfulness and empathy remain unclear.
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