A pilot study exploring compassion in narratives of individuals with psychosis: implications for an attachment-based understanding of recovery

Andrew Gumley, Angus MacBeth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Citations (Scopus)


There is increasing recognition that cultivating compassion for oneself and others can act as an antidote to feelings of threat, shame, humiliation and paranoia. This study aimed to explore the further development of a narrative-based measure of compassion. We hypothesised that greater compassion would be associated with lower levels of positive symptoms, negative symptoms, cognitive disorganisation, excitement and emotional distress. Participants were 29 individuals with psychosis. Greater narrative compassion was associated with less negative symptoms, less cognitive disorganisation and less excitement. We found no correlations between narrative compassion and the Self-Compassion Scale. Notwithstanding the methodological problems of our study, our findings have important implications for developing an attachment-based understanding of compassion and the use of compassion to support recovery from complex mental health problems such as psychosis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)794-811
Number of pages13
JournalMental Health, Religion & Culture
Issue number8
Early online date1 Aug 2014
Publication statusPublished - 2014



  • compassion
  • attachment
  • recovery
  • psychosis

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