Compassionate meditation to heal from race-related stress: A pilot study with Asian Americans.

Racism and race-related stress can negatively impact the mental health status of ethnic minorities. In recent years, college campuses have held demonstrations to promote awareness regarding racism and to call for resources to help improve campus climate and to address the needs of students of color. This study answers this call by developing and evaluating the benefits of a peer-led compassionate meditation program to help students of color heal from race-related stress. To date, no studies have examined whether compassionate meditation (a specific type of meditation) can be used as a therapeutic tool to address racial stress. This article discusses the formative process for developing and pilot-testing the effects of this culturally responsive 8-session compassionate meditation program with Asian American college students. Despite a small sample size, results were promising. and participants evidenced decreases in general distress, as well as depression, anxiety, and PTSD symptoms. Moreover, by the end of the program, fewer students were clinically depressed. The results of this study provide some initial evidence that brief, culturally responsive compassionate meditation interventions may be a promising and cost-effective method for addressing the impact of racism and race-related stress. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)