The Impact of an Online Mindfulness Program on Self-Compassion, Prosocial Behavior, and Trait Mindfulness

Neil W. Bailey, Whitney Comte, Richard Chambers, Larissa Bartlett, Sherelle Dye, Craig S. Hassed

Research output: Other contributionResearch


Online mindfulness programs have gained traction in recent years due to their increased accessibility and feasibility compared to face-to-face programs. Although much research has demonstrated that face-to-face mindfulness programs can increase trait mindfulness, self-compassion and prosocial attitudes, fewer studies have explored these outcomes in online mindfulness programs. Additionally, the relative importance of formal and informal facets of mindfulness practice (i.e., practicing formal sitting meditation or practicing informally by bringing more awareness to daily activities) has not been extensively examined in either face-to-face or online contexts. This study aimed to test whether participating in a free 4-week online mindfulness program improved trait mindfulness, self-compassion and prosocial behavior, and whether improvements were related to self-reported quality and quantity of mindfulness practice. Using a longitudinal design, a total of 209 matched pre- and post-program survey responses were analysed. Results suggested that participation in the mindfulness program improved participants’ levels of trait mindfulness, self-compassion and prosociality (all p < 0.01). Exploratory analysis indicated the mindfulness program had a significantly greater impact upon prosociality scores for males (p < 0.05). Results also suggested that there was an association between the quality of formal mindfulness practice in the last week of the program and improvements in self-compassion and trait mindfulness (p < 0.01), but this relationship was not present for prosociality, nor for the quality of informal practice or quantity of formal practice. Lastly, exploratory mediation analysis suggested the association between quality of formal practice and self-compassion was mediated by changes in trait mindfulness (p < 0.05). These results suggest participating in an online mindfulness program can lead to improved trait mindfulness, self-compassion, and prosociality. Our results also indicate that practice quality is related to improved trait mindfulness, and that the changes to trait mindfulness mediate improved self-compassion.
Original languageEnglish
Media of outputPsyArXiv
Number of pages50
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2021

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