Papers - Others‎ > ‎

(Rasoal + 2011)

Empathy among students in engineering programmes

DOI or Website Link:
Date:    13 Aug 2012

  •  " The purpose of this study was to compare the level of empathy, measured by four subscales, between engineering students and students in health care profession programmes".
  • "Engineering students have significantly lower empathy than students from other programmes."

Engineers face challenges when they are to manage project groups and be leaders for organisations because such positions demand skills in social competence and empathy. Previous studies have shown that engineers have low degrees of social competence skills. In this study, the level of empathy as measured by the four subscales of the Interpersonal Reactivity Index, perspective taking, fantasy, empathic distress and empathic concern, among engineering students was compared to students in health care profession programmes. Participants were undergraduate students at Linköping University, 365 students from four different health care profession programmes and 115 students from two different engineering programmes. When the empathy measures were corrected for effects of sex, engineering students from one of the programmes had lower empathy than psychology and social worker students on the fantasy and perspective-taking subscales. These results raise questions regarding opportunities for engineering students to develop their empathic abilities. It is important that engineering students acquire both theoretical and practical knowledge and skills regarding empathy.

Quotes: (Any pithy quotes)

Topic Area: (In which field / sector / perspective was this study conducted?)

Definition(How was empathy defined?)
"An overview of how empathy has been understood by researchers in their respective fields indicates that there is more disagreement than agreement about the main definitions of empathy, if it is a cognitive or emotional process or if it has multiple components (Duan and Hill 1996)  (RASOAL + 2011)

Duan, C. and Hill, C. E. 1996. The current state of empathy research. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 43: 261–274.[CrossRef], [Web of Science ®], [CSA])."

Benefits(Were any benefits of empathy mentioned?)

Criticisms  (Were any criticisms, negative effects or risks of empathy mentioned?)

Methods(What were the methods used to train empathy?)

Target Group:  (Who participated in this study / training?)

Measurements(About the assessment: How was the change in empathy measured before/after the intervention/method?) 

Result: (What was the result?)

Posted By:  

(Any other relevant information)