A Pilot Study and Randomized Controlled Trial of the Mindful Self-Compassion Program


  • We would like to acknowledge Susan Pollak for her assistance in conducting this study.

Please address correspondence to: Kristin D. Neff, Department of Educational Psychology, University of Texas at Austin, 1 University Station, Austin, 78712. E-mail: kristin.neff@mail.utexas.edu



The aim of these two studies was to evaluate the effectiveness of the Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) program, an 8-week workshop designed to train people to be more self-compassionate.


Study 1 was a pilot study that examined change scores in self-compassion, mindfulness, and various wellbeing outcomes among community adults (N = 21; mean [M] age = 51.26, 95% female). Study 2 was a randomized controlled trial that compared a treatment group (N = 25; M age = 51.21; 78% female) with a waitlist control group (N = 27; M age = 49.11; 82% female).


Study 1 found significant pre/post gains in self-compassion, mindfulness, and various wellbeing outcomes. Study 2 found that compared with the control group, intervention participants reported significantly larger increases in self-compassion, mindfulness, and wellbeing. Gains were maintained at 6-month and 1-year follow-ups.


The MSC program appears to be effective at enhancing self-compassion, mindfulness, and wellbeing.