Date of Award

12-1997

Department

Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Alan Hovestadt

Second Advisor

Dr. Paul Yelsma

Third Advisor

Dr. Karen Blaisure

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate the predictive relationship between two affective measures, affective orientation and alexithymia, and five empathy measures in 67 master’s degree level counselor trainees. It was hypothesized that affective orientation would be predictive and alexithymia inversely predictive of five distinct dimensions of empathy: communicated, observed, emotional, cognitive, and relational. Communicated empathy was measured by trainees’ audio-taped responses to a client stimulus which were assessed by “blind” raters. Observed empathy was measured by practicum supervisors based on their observations of trainees with clients. Emotional, cognitive, and relational empathy were assessed by trainees’ self-reported responses about emotional and cognitive empathic dispositions and experiences of empathy in relationship(s) with clients.

Data were analyzed through 10 simple linear regression equations examining the relationship between two independent variables, affective orientation and alexithymia, and five dependent variables, communicated, observed, emotional, cognitive, and relational empathy. Results yielded six statistically significant predictive relationships at the p < .01. Affective orientation was predictive and alexithymia inversely predictive of three measures of empathy: emotional, cognitive, and relational empathy. Scores of females and males were significantly different for both affective orientation and alexithymia.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access

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