Committee Chair

Miller, Ted L.

Committee Member

Freeman, John; Rutledge, Valerie; Rausch, David W.; O'Brien, Elizabeth

Department

Dept. of Education

College

College of Health, Education, and Professional Studies

Publisher

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Place of Publication

Chattanooga (Tenn.)

Abstract

This study examined the impact of specialized treatment on the empathy levels of urban, low-income, middle-aged elementary school students who attend a local neighborhood school. The data set consisted of the pre and posttest scores of 99 students who attend a single, small, urban, district school in a system of approximately 21,032 other elementary school students. The first of three research questions asked whether self-reported levels of empathy can be altered across the various experimental treatments (new clothes and empathy training) imposed during the study. One-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) and Tukey post hoc comparisons for the pre and posttests demonstrated significant differences between the scores of students who received empathy training and students who did not receive empathy training. Effect sizes were quite large thus indicating a difference not only exceeding chance, but also of practical value in application. The second research question asked if teachers would report noticeable differences in the empathetic behavior of students who received the experimental treatments designed to increase empathy in the study. To answer this question a focus group interview was conducted with teachers of the students who participated in the study. According to the teachers, a difference was observed in the empathy levels of some study participants. The third research question asked if program facilitators would report differences in the empathetic behavior of students who received the experimental treatments designed to increase empathy in the study. To answer this question, a second focus group interview was conducted with the adults who facilitated the empathy training at the school. The facilitators also reported differences in the empathetic behaviors of the some of the study participants. Results indicate at least the temporary mutability of self-perceived empathy in response to training in students at risk to develop appropriate levels of empathy. Study findings are discussed in terms of implications of the results, possible flaws in the study, and projections for future research and program implementation.

Degree

Ed. D.; A dissertation submitted to the faculty of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Doctor of Education.

Date

8-2013

Subject

Empathy

Discipline

Educational Leadership

Document Type

Doctoral dissertations

Extent

xi, 177 leaves

Language

English

Rights

Under copyright.

License

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/

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