This study measured heart-rate variability and cortisol to explore whether Compassion-Focused Imagery (CFI) could stimulate a soothing affect system. We also explored individual differences (self-reported self-criticism, attachment style and psychopathology) to CFI. Participants were given a relaxation, compassion-focused and control imagery task. While some individuals showed an increase in heart rate variability during CFI, others had a decrease. There was some indication that this was related to peoples self-reports of self-criticism, and attachment style. Those with an increase in heart rate variability also showed a significant cortisol decrease. Hence, CFI can stimulate a soothing affect system and attenuate hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis activity in some individuals but those who are more self-critical, with an insecure attachment style may require therapeutic interventions to benefit from CFI. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)
|Journal||Clinical Neuropsychiatry: Journal of Treatment Evaluation|
|Publication status||Published - 2008|
Rockliff, H., Gilbert, P., McEwan, K., Lightman, S., & Glover, D. (2008). A pilot exploration of heart rate variability and salivary cortisol responses to compassion-focused imagery. Clinical Neuropsychiatry: Journal of Treatment Evaluation, 5(3), 132-139.