Altering the Trajectory of Affect and Affect Regulation: the Impact of Compassion Training

Hooria Jazaieri, Kelly McGonigal, Ihno A. Lee, Thupten Jinpa, James R. Doty, James J. Gross, Philip R Goldin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


A growing literature has begun to document the effects of compassion training on a variety of important interpersonal behaviors (e.g., helping behavior). What is not yet well understood, however, is what impact compassion training has on affect and affect regulation. To examine this issue, we implemented a 9-week compassion training program in which 51 adults provided twice-daily ratings of four affective states (anxiety, calm, fatigue, alertness) as well as their desire and capability to regulate these affective states. In addition, participants provided weekly responses regarding five specific regulatory strategies. Analysis of day-to-day trajectories of affective experience showed a decrease in anxiety and increase in calmness. Day-to-day trajectories of affect regulation demonstrated that participants were more likely to choose to accept and thus not influence or modulate affective experience (as opposed to dampen, enhance, or hold on to or maintain the affective state). At the same time, participants also reported being more capable in meeting their respective regulatory goals. Finally, analysis of week-to-week trajectories of specific regulatory strategies over the course of the compassion training program demonstrated that participants shifted to lesser use of expressive suppression and greater acceptance when experiencing stress/anxiety. These results suggest that interventions such as compassion training may help modulate specific affective states and modify the use of and self-efficacy for specific regulatory strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)283-293
Number of pages11
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2018


  • Affect
  • Affect dynamics
  • Affect regulation
  • Affective trajectories
  • Compassion
  • Diary study
  • Ecological momentary assessment
  • Experience sampling
  • Multilevel analysis
  • Self-efficacy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Health(social science)
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Applied Psychology


Dive into the research topics of 'Altering the Trajectory of Affect and Affect Regulation: the Impact of Compassion Training'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this