Even though compassion for others and for the self are important indicators of mental and physical health and well-being, scientists vary greatly in defining them. Therefore, we examined how the public defines compassion for others and self and explore what are the similarities or differences between researchers´ definitions and public´s definitions of compassions as well as between compassion and self-compassion themselves. 305 members of public defined compassion and self-compassion using their own words, of which we randomly selected 35 for the analysis. The definitions have been analysed using the modified Consensual Qualitative Research (CQR-M) method. The research team composed of three researchers: two core team members and one auditor. Since the domains in both definitions of compassion and self-compassion emerged matching and their proportions turned out to be similar too, we are inclined to side with the proposition that these two constructs are comparable in certain, particularly cognitive, and behavioural areas. However, differences in some categories and subcategories make us believe that they are likely to be processed in a different way. Definitions provided by the study participants majorly correspond with theoretical concepts and definitions of compassion and self-compassion of Gilbert (2009) and Strauss et al. (2016).


compassion, self-compassion, definition, consensual qualitative research

Author Bio(s)

Júlia Halamová is a professor at Comenius University. She has also her own private psychotherapy practice. Andrea Petrovajová and Tomáš Žilinský were her graduate and postgraduate students. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: Júlia Halamová at julia.halamova@gmail.com.


Compliance with Ethical Standards Disclosure of potential conflicts of interest The authors declare that they have no potential conflicts of interests. Funding Writing this work was supported by the Vedecká grantová agentúra (Scientific Grant Agency) VEGA under Grant 1/0075/19. Ethical approval All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. Informed consent Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study. Availability of data and materials In order to comply with the ethics approvals of the study protocols, data cannot be made accessible through a public repository. However, data are available upon request for researchers who consent to adhering to the ethical regulations for confidential data. Author Contributions JH designed the research project. AP collected the data. AP and TZ were members of the core team and JH was the auditor. AP and JH wrote the first draft of the article. TZ edited, amended and translated the article. All authors interpreted the results, revised the manuscript and read and approved the final manuscript.

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