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01-08-2019 | ORIGINAL PAPER | Uitgave 11/2019

Mindfulness 11/2019

For Whom Does Cognitively Based Compassion Training (CBCT) Work? An Analysis of Predictors and Moderators among African American Suicide Attempters

Mindfulness > Uitgave 11/2019
Shufang Sun, Alison M. Pickover, Simon B. Goldberg, Jabeene Bhimji, Julie K. Nguyen, Anna E. Evans, Bobbi Patterson, Nadine J. Kaslow
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Both cognitively based compassion training (CBCT) and support-based group intervention have been found to be effective for African American suicide attempters in reducing suicidal ideation and depression, as well as enhancing self-compassion. This study aims to further our understanding of effective interventions by exploring participants’ responses to both interventions.


Exploratory analyses were conducted in a sample of low-income African Americans who had attempted suicide (n = 82) to determine how baseline demographic and psychological characteristics would (1) predict outcomes (i.e., suicidal ideation, depression, and self-compassion) regardless of intervention conditions and (2) moderate outcomes in interaction with intervention condition.


Non-reactivity, a mindfulness facet, was identified as an intervention moderator for suicidal ideation and depressive symptoms, suggesting that CBCT outperformed the support group for African American suicide attempters who had low baseline non-reactivity (or high reactivity). Individuals who had high non-reactivity at baseline appeared to benefit more from both conditions in self-compassion as an outcome. There was a pattern that homeless individuals benefited less in terms of their levels of depressive symptoms and self-compassion as outcomes regardless of the assigned condition. When applying Bonferroni corrections, only non-reactivity as an intervention moderator for depressive symptoms was significant.


Findings reveal the relevance of mindfulness and to a lesser extent socioeconomic status in informing compassion-based intervention outcomes with this underserved population and the importance of intervention matching and tailoring to maximize treatment effects. Future large trials are needed to replicate findings and directions indicated from the current pilot study.

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