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Sherlyn Jimenez

Subject Psychology

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405161251.2009.x


In recent literature, compassion has been defined as being moved by the suffering of others such that one desires to relieve or make bearable that suffering. Compassion, at its core, is a social and relational emotion based on a sense of connectedness and concerned with the prevention, alleviation or elimination of suffering in others. Preliminary findings on compassion indicate that it may be related to positive psychological and physical outcomes as well as prosocial behavior and positive socialization. As a powerful motivation for individual transformation and societal action, compassion is therefore a crucial emotion that merits further study. However, research on compassion has been scarce with existing research mostly focused on compassion fatigue. Although there is a significant body of literature on empathy, altruism, and prosocial behaviors, compassion itself has largely been ignored as a central psychological construct. At present, empirical data are lacking concerning the processes and mechanisms involved in compassion and the factors which promote compassion. As such, more research on this important topic is needed. Because compassion has significant overlap with sympathy, pity empathy, altruism and compassionate love, it is first necessary to distinguish compassion from these constructs. Compassion, sympathy, and pity once shared closely equivalent meanings – that ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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