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The Science of Compassionate Love: Theory, Research, and Applications

Beverley Fehr (Editor), Susan Sprecher (Editor), Lynn G. Underwood (Editor)
ISBN: 978-1-4443-0308-7
488 pages
January 2009, Wiley-Blackwell
The Science of Compassionate Love: Theory, Research, and Applications (1444303082) cover image
The Science of Compassionate Love is an interdisciplinary volume that presents cutting-edge scholarship on the topics of altruism and compassionate love. The book
  • Adopts a social science approach to understanding compassionate love
  • Emphasizes positive features of social interaction
  • Encourages the appropriate expression of compassionate love both to those in intimate relationships and to strangers
  • Includes articles by distinguished contributors from the fields of Psychology, Sociology, Communication Studies, Family Studies, Epidemiology, Medicine and Nursing
  • Is ideal for workshops on compassionate love, Positive Psychology, and creating constructive interactions between health professionals and patients
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    Preface and Acknowledgments: Beverley Fehr (University of Winnipeg), Susan Sprecher (Illinois State University), and Lynn Underwood (Hiram College).

    Part I: Definitions, Theory, and Measurement.

    1. Compassionate Love: A Framework for Research: Lynn G. Underwood (Hiram College).

    2. Compassionate Love: Conceptual, Measurement, and Relational Issues: Beverley Fehr (University of Winnipeg) and Susan Sprecher (Illinois State University).

    3. Measuring Prosocial Behavior, Altruism, and Compassionate Love on US Television: Stacy L. Smith (University of Southern California), Sandi W. Smith (Michigan State University), Katherine M. Pieper (University of Southern California), Edward Downs (Penn State University), Jina H. Yoo (University of Missouri St. Louis), Becka Bowden (Michigan Bankers Association), Amber Ferris (Kent State University), and Matthew C. Butler (Office of Health and Human Services, State of Michigan).

    Part II: The Sociodemographics of Compassionate Love.

    4. Love and Caring in the United States: Trends and Correlates of Empathy, Altruism, and Related Constructs: Tom W. Smith (University of Chicago).

    5. Compassionate Motivation and Compassionate Acts across the Adult Life Course: Evidence from US National Studies: Nadine F. Marks (University of Wisconsin-Madison) and Jieun Song (University of Wisconsin-Madison).

    Part III: Compassionate Love in Close Relationships.

    6. Empathy and Compassionate Love in Early Childhood: Development and Family Influence: Brenda L. Volling, Amy M. Kolak, and Denise E. Kennedy (all University of Michigan).

    7. Compassionate Love in Early Marriage: Lisa A. Neff (University of Toledo) and Benjamin R. Karney (University of California, Los Angeles).

    Part IV: Compassionate Love for Non-Close Others.

    8. A Behavioral Systems Perspective on Compassionate Love: Mario Mikulincer (Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya), Phillip R. Shaver (University of California, Davis), and Omri Gillath (University of Kansas).

    9. Compassionate Acts: Motivations for and Correlates of Volunteerism among Older Adults: Allen M. Omoto (Claremont Graduate University), Anna M. Malsch (Portland State University), and Jorge A. Barraza (Claremont Graduate University).

    10. Compassionate Love for Individuals in Other Social Groups: Salena Brody (Collin County Community College), Stephen C. Wright (Simon Fraser University), Arthur Aron (State University of New York at Stony Brook), and Tracy McLaughlin-Volpe (Boston College).

    Part V: Compassionate Love in Health Care and Other Caregiving Contexts.

    11. Compassionate Family Caregiving in the Light and Shadow of Death: Linda J. Roberts, Meg Wise, and Lori L. DuBenske (all University of Wisconsin-Madison).

    12. Compassionate Clinicians: Exemplary Care in Hospital Settings: David R. Graber (Medical University of South Carolina) and Maralynne D. Mitcham (College of Health Professions).

    13. Caregiving in Sociocultural Context: Norman D. Giesbrecht (University of Calgary).

    Part VI: Compassionate Love in an Intercultural Context.

    14. Testing Aspects of Compassionate Love in a Sample of Indonesian Adolescents: Julie Vaughan, Nancy Eisenberg (both Arizona State University), Doran C. French (Illinois Wesleyan University), Urip Purwono (Universitas Padjadjaran), Telie A. Suryanti (associate consultant), and Sri Pidada (deceased).

    Part VII: Commentary.

    15. Compassionate Love: Concluding Reflections: Daniel Perlman (University of North Carolina at Greensboro) and Rozzana Sánchez Aragón (National Autonomous University of Mexico).

    Index

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    Beverley Fehr is Professor of Psychology at the University of Winnipeg.


    Susan Sprecher is Professor of Sociology with Joint Appointment in Psychology at Illinois State University.


    Lynn G. Underwood is Professor of Biomedical Humanities at Hiram College.

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      • Adopts a social science approach to understanding compassionate love
      • Emphasizes positive features of social interaction
      • Ideal for workshops on compassionate love, Positive Psychology, and creating constructive interactions between health professionals and patients
      • Encourages the appropriate expression of compassionate love both to those in intimate relationships and to strangers
      • Distinguished contributors from the fields of Psychology, Sociology, Communication Studies, Family Studies, Epidemiology, Medicine and Nursing
      • A valuable resource for the research community in the fields of altruism and personal relationships
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    For this splendid collection, Fehr (psychology, Univ. of Winnipeg), Sprecher (sociology, Illinois State University), and Underwood (biomedical humanities, Hiram College) assembled 15 original essays on "the science of compassionate love," i.e., "the kind of love that is a central feature in many religious traditions: a self-giving, caring love that values the other highly and has the intention of giving full life to the other." The contributors work in a variety of disciplines--social psychology, communication, health science. Together they present a state-of-the-art perspective, oriented toward future scientific investigations of compassionate love but in touch with its roots in developments such as humanistic psychology. This volume will have special appeal for psychologists but also, one can only hope, for humanists invested in the recent turn toward positive psychology. Mental health practitioners will also benefit from the clear delineation of the subject, finding links, for example, between compassionate love and the art of compassion central to mindfulness-based psychotherapies grounded in the Buddhist psychological tradition. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty and professionals. -- M. Uebel, University of Texas (CHOICE, March 2009)

    "By bringing cutting-edge science to bear on the ways in which compassionate love is manifest in human activity, these scientists provide an encouraging and sensible antidote to the cynical view of human nature that is so common today. Readers will find this volume a rich source of ideas for research and applications." 
    Harry T. Reis, University of Rochester

    "What the world needs now is not just love but compassionate love defined as 'giving of self for the good of the other' whether someone close, unknown others or humanity in general. This volume brings together distinguished researchers from a number of social science disciplines to focus on this important aspect of love. The book clearly fulfills its goal of providing a 'state of the art' treatment of this important topic. Hopefully it will also encourage future research that will increase our understanding of how to develop compassionate love in our troubled world."
    Patricia Noller, University of Queensland

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