Compassion Meditation Training for Hospital Chaplain Residents: A Pilot Study

Marcia J. Ash, Elizabeth Reisinger Walker, Ralph J. DiClemente, Marianne P. Florian, Patricia K. Palmer, Kathryn Wehrmeyer, Lobsang Tenzin Negi, George H. Grant, Charles L. Raison, Jennifer S. Mascaro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study examines the effectiveness of incorporating compassion meditation training into a clinical pastoral education (CPE) curriculum to enhance compassion satisfaction and reduce burnout among hospital chaplain residents. Specifically, a longitudinal, quasi-experimental design was used to examine the impact of Cognitively-Based Compassion Training (CBCT), a group-delivered compassion meditation intervention. Hospital chaplain residents (n = 15) were assigned to participate in a CBCT intervention or a waitlist comparison group. Chaplains assigned to CBCT reported significant decreases in burnout and anxiety compared to the waitlist group; effects were not maintained at 4-month follow-up. Other outcomes, including compassion satisfaction, did not differ significantly but were trending in the expected direction. Findings suggest that compassion meditation training incorporated into CPE promotes chaplain wellbeing, although it may be necessary to extend CBCT throughout residency to sustain effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)191-206
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Health Care Chaplaincy
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2021


  • Burnout
  • compassion satisfaction
  • meditation
  • pastoral education
  • secondary trauma stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Religious studies


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