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(Pecukonis 1990)

Title:  A cognitive/affective empathy training program as a function of ego development in aggressive adolescent females
DOI or Website Link:  
Publication: Adolescence, 25, 59-76.  
  • Pecukonis, E. V. 
Date:    (1990)
Pecukonis, E. V. "A Cognitive/Affective Empathy Training Program as a Function of Ego Development in Aggressive Adolescent Females." ADOLESCENCE 25/97 (1990): 59-76. 

Pecukonis, E. V. (1990). A cognitive/affective empathy training program as a function of ego development in aggressive adolescent females. Adolescence, 25, 59–76.

  • Reviewed in Meta-study  (BUTTERS 2010)*
  • Reviewed in Meta-study (COTTON)*  
  • Examines the relationship between the ego development and empathy in aggressive adolescent girls, then reports the effects of an empathy training program on these girls' levels of empathy.  (COTTON)*
  • Reviewed in  Meta-study  (TEDING VAN BERKHOUT 2016)* 


This study investigated the effects of an affective/cognitive empathy training program on level of empathy in 24 aggressive adolescent females in a residential treatment center. In addition, the relationship between empathy and level of ego development was explored. Empathy was defined as a psychological construct regulated by both cognitive and affective components, interacting in a systemic manner to produce emotional understanding

Subjects were pretested on measures of affective empathy, cognitive empathy, and Loevinger's scale of ego development. High and low scores on the measures of ego development were defined by a median split. Following random assignment to groups, experimental subjects were exposed to four 1.5-hour training sessions directed at increasing levels of affective and cognitive empathy. 

Post tests revealed significant positive relationships between ego development and both measures of empathy. Training significantly increased levels of affective empathy, while increases in cognitive empathy were unremarkable. There was no difference between high and low ego development scorers in their ability to profit from training. The hypothesized systemic relationship between affective and cognitive empathy was also supported by the findings.

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

(How was empathy defined?)

(Were any benefits of empathy mentioned?)

 (What were the methods used to train empathy?)

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

(What was the result?)

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