Empathy and social work: The capacity of students for cognitive and emotional empathy as it relates to field instruction evaluations

Jack E Wortman, Fordham University

Abstract

This study explores the hypothesis that high empathic capacity is positively correlated with high quality work with clients by social workers. The author of this dissertation theorizes that cognitive empathy and emotional empathy are distinct, minimally correlated capacities, and that effective social work functioning is enhanced most noticeably when the worker has a high capacity for both cognitive and emotional empathy. These capacities were measured respectively by the Hogan Empathy Scale and the Questionnaire Measure of Emotional Empathy, using a sample of 144 first year MSW students. Scores from these scales were associated with Field Instructors' evaluations through correlations, analyses of variance, and regression analyses. The author found that cognitive and emotional empathy were minimally correlated, and that field work evaluations were not significantly correlated with these measures of trait empathy, either singly or interactively. ^

Subject Area

Social work

Recommended Citation

Wortman, Jack E, "Empathy and social work: The capacity of students for cognitive and emotional empathy as it relates to field instruction evaluations" (1989). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9015953.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI9015953

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