Title

An investigation of empathy in adults as a function of variables in three clusterings: Dispositional, situational, and biophilial.

Date of Award

2004

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Department

Education

First Advisor

Morton, Larry,

Keywords

Psychology, Social.

Rights

CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Abstract

To determine which variables (Dispositional, Situational, Biophilial) best predict levels of empathy, 448 (M = 144, F = 304) teacher candidates were examined with respect to the Questionnaire Measure of Emotional Empathy (QMEE) (Mehrabian and Epstein, 1972). Variables were assigned to "clusters" that have been linked, either logically or empirically, to empathy, and are potentially important predictors. Dispositional variables (anti- and prosocial behaviour, and personality measures) are reportedly linked to the empathic development of children and young adults, as are Situational variables (parental behaviour during childhood, age, and gender). Biophilial variables related to pets (e.g., history with pets, pet ownership, pet attitudes, and pet preference) are also logically linked to empathy and provide a theoretical framework for situating the determinants of empathy. Multiple regression analyses showed that certain personality traits (SONSO Personality Inventory, Kentle, 1994), physical aggression (The Aggression Questionnaire, Buss & Perry, 1992), certain demographics (e.g., sex, age, parents' marital status, etc.), and pet-related aspects of biophilia (Pet Attitude Scale, Templer, Salter, Dickey, Baldwin, & Veleber, 1981; Pet Preference Inventory, Daly & Morton, 2003) were predictors of empathy. Psychological influences, particularly sympathy, were quite strong, as was the demographic variable of Sex, indicating higher empathy in females. Paper copy at Leddy Library: Theses & Major Papers - Basement, West Bldg. / Call Number: Thesis2004 .D35. Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 66-02, Section: B, page: 1217. Adviser: Larry Morton. Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Windsor (Canada), 2004.