We investigated (i) the predictive relationships of compassion with negative emotionality (a marker of susceptibility to stress) and vital exhaustion (a marker of chronic stress response) and (ii) the effect of compassion on the developmental courses of negative emotionality and vital exhaustion over a follow-up from early adulthood to middle age. We used the prospective Young Finns data (n = 1031-1495, aged 20-50). Compassion was evaluated in 1997, 2001, and 2012; and vital exhaustion and negative emotionality in 2001, 2007, and 2012. The predictive paths from compassion to vital exhaustion and negative emotionality were stronger than vice versa: high compassion predicted lower vital exhaustion and lower negative emotionality. The effect of high compassion on lower vital exhaustion and lower negative emotionality was evident from early adulthood to middle age. Overall, high compassion appears to protect against dimensions of stress from early adulthood to middle age, whereas this study found no evidence that dimensions of stress could reduce disposition to feel compassion for others' distress over a long-term follow-up.
- 515 Psykologi