Non-expert views of compassion: consensual qualitative research using focus groups

Human Affairs 29 (1):6-19 (2019)

Abstract
Although the research on compassion is growing, there is a lack of knowledge about how non-expert people perceive compassion. Therefore, the aim of the study was to explore compassion from the perspective of non-experts. Our sample consisted of 56 non-expert participants in 10 focus groups and we conducted a Consensual Qualitative Research analysis with two members of a core team and one auditor. In general, compassion was described as a mixture of non-specified positive emotions and specified negative emotions. Compassion was related to empathy. In terms of behaviours, compassion was revealed to help, support, favour, mental closeness, and interest. Compassion is displayed mainly to people close to us in situations of suffering. However, people tend to evaluate beforehand whether the situation and person deserve compassion. Moreover, people are cautious about being exploited through compassion. To sum up, our findings support a multidimensional definition of compassion.
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DOI 10.1515/humaff-2019-0002
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