Investigating how viewing common humanity scenarios impacts compassion: A novel approach

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Compassion is a core value in healthcare. It enables healthcare workers to respond with care and kindness to all patients. The perception of common humanity (CH) has been proposed as the central mechanism of compassion. There have been no empirical studies examining the connection between CH and compassion. The present study aimed to investigate the impact of viewing CH scenarios on compassion. Seventy-five healthcare workers participated and were randomly allocated to two groups. The healthcare workers viewed different CH scenarios and completed pre- and post-test validated scales on perspective-taking, CH and compassion. The authors investigated whether compassion increased after viewing the CH scenarios. A mediation analysis was performed to examine if perspective-taking influences compassion, mediated by CH. Some new CH items were also trialled to help develop a CH scale. The results demonstrated that healthcare workers' level of compassion increased after viewing the CH scenarios. There was some evidence that perspective-taking influences compassion mediated by CH. CH appears to be a collection of constructs captured by a number of subscales. This study has important implications for supporting healthcare workers to develop and sustain compassion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1724-1742
Number of pages19
JournalBritish Journal of Social Work
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2020


  • Health
  • Human rights
  • Job satisfaction
  • Professional practice
  • Values

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