Keywords

Empathy, Meditation, Problem solving, Social networks, Student counselors, Student counselors -- Training of

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of a compassion-based meditation, known as loving-kindness meditation (LKM), as an intervention to positively affect empathy, perceived social support, and problem-solving appraisal in student counselors. This quasiexperimental study included 103 master’s level counseling students enrolled in a large Southeastern university. The treatment consisted of six one-hour psychoeducational groups with a LKM component. The LKM intervention was compared with a control group on the constructs of (a) multidimensional empathy (Interpersonal Reactivity Index [IRI]; Davis, 1980), (b) perceived social support (Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support [MSPSS]; Zimet, Dahlem, Zimet, & Farley, 1988), and (c) problem-solving appraisal (Problem Solving Inventory [PSI]; Heppner, 1988). Participants who received the LKM intervention experienced gains in the cognitive empathy subscales of Perspective Taking (treatment group effect size = .213; control group effect size = .006) and Fantasy (treatment group effect size = .173; control group effect size = .032) and in the affective empathy subscale of Emotional Concern (treatment group effect size = .115, control group effect size = .028). The treatment group also demonstrated a decrease in the affective empathy subscale of Personal Distress (treatment group effect size = .088, control group effect size = .080). The control group did not experience changes in Perspective Taking, Fantasy, Emotional Concern, or Personal Distress. Furthermore, there was no change in either the treatment or control group in perceived social support or problem-solving appraisal from pretest to posttest. In addition, this study examined the relationship between quantity of meditation time and the dependent variables of multidimensional empathy, perceived social iv support, and problem-solving appraisal. Participants who received the LKM intervention demonstrated a moderate positive correlation (Cohen, 1992) between quantity of meditation and Perspective Taking (Spearman’s rank order correlation rs = .29). Implications for counselor education and directions for future research are discussed.

Notes

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Graduation Date

2011

Semester

Spring

Advisor

Young, Mark E.

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

College

College of Education

Department

Educational and Human Sciences

Format

application/pdf

Identifier

CFE0003656

URL

http://purl.fcla.edu/fcla/etd/CFE0003656

Language

English

Length of Campus-only Access

None

Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)

Subjects

Dissertations, Academic -- Education, Education -- Dissertations, Academic

Included in

Education Commons

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