Compassion-based interventions (CBIs) are effective in promoting mental health. However, the mechanisms through which CBIs produce these positive outcomes are not fully known. The amount of meditation practice in CBIs has been associated with the outcomes but the role of quality of practice has not yet been explored. Thus, in addition to examining the contribution of the Compassion Practice Quality Scale (CPQS) to predicting the main outcomes of a CBI (compassion cultivation training), the current study explored the scale’s construct validity and sensitivity to change.
Data were drawn from a pretest–posttest study design (n = 74), and compassion practice quality, positive self-compassion, negative self-compassion, difficulties in emotion regulation, and body awareness were assessed.
The CPQS was found to be a valid and reliable measure, showing pretest–posttest differences. Overall, CPQS baseline scores were positively associated with positive self-compassion and body awareness and negatively associated with negative self-compassion and difficulties in emotion regulation. Moreover, compassion practice quality explained a significant amount of variance in positive self-compassion (ΔR2 = .18, ΔF (4, 31) = 2.69, p = .049), after controlling for baseline positive self-compassion, previous meditation experience, and frequency of formal practice during the CBI.
The findings confirm the significance of compassion practice quality and the usefulness of the CPQS in compassion research. Future studies should continue to investigate the psychometric properties of the CPQS, describing the daily or weekly evolution of compassion practice and developing specific pedagogical strategies to foster compassion practice quality within CBIs.