The use of common humanity scenarios to promote compassion in healthcare workers

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14 Citations (Scopus)


The importance of compassion in healthcare is universally acknowledged. However, the factors that enhance compassion are not well understood. The perception of common humanity has been proposed as a prosocial perspective that leads to unbiased universal compassion. There has been a lack of research into the relationship between common humanity and compassion. This study examined the use of common humanity scenarios to promote compassion in healthcare workers. Seventy-five healthcare workers were randomly assigned to two groups and shown a different common humanity scenario. The healthcare workers were asked what effect viewing the videos had on their perception of common humanity and compassion. Thematic analysis was used to identify themes. Four main themes emerged: (a) common bonds; (b) people have the same needs; (c) no one wants to suffer; (d) seeing strangers helping others is motivating. Healthcare workers reported feelings of care, concern, and compassion after viewing common humanity scenarios. IMPLICATIONS Viewing common humanity scenarios appears to lead to enhanced feelings of connection to others and compassion in healthcare workers. Using common humanity scenarios may be a useful compassion training strategy in healthcare. Further research is necessary to gain a better understanding of how viewing common humanity material influences compassion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)110-121
Number of pages12
JournalAustralian Social Work
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2021


  • Common Bonds
  • Common Humanity
  • Compassion
  • Health Social Work
  • Healthcare Workers
  • Prosocial

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