Compassion, Mindfulness, and the Happiness of Healthcare Workers

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Abstract

Context:

Decreased well-being of healthcare workers expressed as stress and decreased job satisfaction influences patient safety, patient satisfaction, and cost containment. Self-compassion has garnered recent attention due to its positive association with well-being and happiness. Discovering novel pathways to increase the well-being of healthcare workers is essential.

Objective:

This study sought to explore the influence of self-compassion on employee happiness in healthcare professionals.

Design, Setting, and Participants:

A total of 400 participants (mean age = 45 ± 14, 65% female) healthcare workers at a large teaching hospital were randomly asked to complete questionnaires assessing their levels of happiness and self-compassion, life conditions, and habits.

Measures:

Participants completed the Happiness Scale and Self-Compassion Scales, the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire as well as variables associated with well-being: relationship status, the number of hours spent exercising a week, attendance at a wellness facility, and engagement in a regular spiritual practice.

Results:

Self-compassion was significantly and independently associated with perceived happiness explaining 39% of its variance after adjusting for age, marital status, gender, time spent exercising, and attendance to an exercise facility. Two specific subdomains of self-compassion from the instrument used, coping with isolation and mindfulness, accounted for 95% of the self-compassion effect on happiness.

Conclusion:

Self-compassion is meaningfully and independently associated with happiness and well-being in healthcare professionals. Our results may have practical implications by providing specific self-compassion components to be targeted in future programs aimed at enhancing well-being in healthcare professionals.

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