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Title: The Efficacy of Empathy Training: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials
Contributor(s): Teding van Berkhout, Emily (author); Malouff, John M  (author)orcid 
Publication Date: 2016
DOI: 10.1037/cou0000093
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Abstract: High levels of empathy are associated with healthy relationships and prosocial behavior; in health professionals, high levels of empathy are associated with better therapeutic outcomes. To determine whether empathy can be taught, researchers have evaluated empathy training programs. After excluding 1 outlier study that showed a very large effect with few participants, the meta-analysis included 18 randomized controlled trials of empathy training with a total of 1,018 participants. The findings suggest that empathy training programs are effective overall, with a medium effect (g = 0.63), adjusted to 0.51 after trim-and-fill evaluation for estimated publication bias. Moderator analyses indicated that 4 factors were statistically significantly associated with higher effect sizes: (a) training health professionals and university students rather than other types of individuals, (b) compensating trainees for their participation, (c) using empathy measures that focus exclusively on assessing understanding the emotions of others, feeling those emotions, or commenting accurately on the emotions, and (d) using objective measures rather than self-report measures. Number of hours of training and time between preintervention assessment and postintervention assessment were not statistically significantly associated with effect size, with 6 months the longest time period for assessment. The findings indicate that (a) empathy training tends to be effective and (b) experimental research is warranted on the impact of different types of trainees, training conditions, and types of assessment.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Journal of Counseling Psychology, 36(1), p. 32-41
Publisher: American Psychological Association
Place of Publication: United States of America
ISSN: 1939-2168
Fields of Research (FoR) 2008: 170106 Health, Clinical and Counselling Psychology
Fields of Research (FoR) 2020: 520302 Clinical psychology
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO) 2008: 929999 Health not elsewhere classified
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO) 2020: 200201 Determinants of health
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
Appears in Collections:Journal Article

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