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Better understanding of the nature of empathy: interaction of empathy, attachment styles, narcissism, dogmatism, anxiety, and emotion regulation in people of helping professions

Arutyunyan, K. (2018). Better understanding of the nature of empathy: interaction of empathy, attachment styles, narcissism, dogmatism, anxiety, and emotion regulation in people of helping professions. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)

Abstract

The current study looked at the interaction between four facets of empathy (‘empathic concern’, ‘personal distress’, ‘perspective taking’, ‘fantasy’), nine strategies of emotion regulation (ER), three parental styles, and traits of narcissism, dogmatism and anxiety. The main aim of the current work was to explore the variables, thought to relate to empathic reasoning, and to consider how empathy can be facilitated in people of helping professions. The sample of participants was comprised of counselling and clinical psychologists, psychotherapists, psychoanalysis, care workers, and other people of helping professions at various stages of their professional development. A total of 163 females and 53 males took part in the study. The mean age of participants fell in the ‘44‒49’ category box. Data were analysed with three methods of statistical analyses: multiple regression analysis, correlation analysis, and cluster analysis. Results of cluster analysis indicated that participants were classified into three distinct groups. The clusters appeared to represent a gradual transition from the youngest to the oldest participants and an accompanying shift towards emotional resilience, better management of negative affective states, positive recollections of parental dynamics, and increased propensity for empathic relating. Results of regression and correlation analyses indicated that regulation of negative emotions had facilitating effects on empathic capacity, with the exception of ‘fantasy’, which was positively associated with negative emotionality. Overall, findings indicated that empathic dimensions of ‘personal distress’ and ‘perspective taking’ were more susceptible to the influence of ER, narcissism, and anxiety than the remaining aspects of empathic relating, namely ‘fantasy’ and ‘empathic concern’. The field of helping professions could benefit from drawing clear distinctions between dimensions of empathic relating and implementing strategies to facilitate appropriate regulation of emotional fragility in younger trainees.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Departments: Doctoral Theses
Doctoral Theses > School of Arts and Social Sciences Doctoral Theses
School of Arts & Social Sciences > Psychology
URI: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/21657
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