Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Giordano, Francesca G.

Degree Name

Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Counseling


Empathy; Intimacy (Psychology)


Empathy research has been fraught with inconsistent terminology and measurement limitations that produce conflicting research findings. Yet it has been quite clear that the construct of empathy is important to the process of intrapersonal and interpersonal change. The failure to define and measure empathy as a dynamic, reciprocal process with four major dimensions of cognition, affect, action, and relationship may account for many of the inconsistent empirical outcomes. The purpose of this study was to understand how the four major dimensions of empathy, as well as self-empathy, were related to partnership satisfaction and intimacy. Forty partners were videotaped and completed written assessments. An additional 73 partners completed only the written assessments. Results suggested that the empathy dimensions of affect, action, and relationship predicted both partnership satisfaction and intimacy. The empathy dimension of cognition did not hold up as a predictor of partnership satisfaction. However, both self-empathy and the empathy dimension of cognition predicted intimacy for males. Self-empathy was useful for both genders in predicting partners' perceptions of empathy received. The use of both self-report and observational ratings enhanced measurement efforts.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [122]-134)


xii, 176 pages




Northern Illinois University

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