The impact of anxiety on perspective-taking involved in empathy

Susch, Manjeet Kaur (2021). The impact of anxiety on perspective-taking involved in empathy. University of Birmingham. Clin.Psy.D.

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Understanding the impact of anxiety on empathy underpins how we understand social functioning in pressured environments. The existing evidence about the way anxiety impacts empathy is mixed and highlights the complexity of empathy as a construct. This study explored the impact of state anxiety on affective and cognitive empathy in women. Relationships between trait levels of anxiety, affective and cognitive empathy were measured and the extent to which they moderated the relationship between trait anxiety and empathy were explored. Seventy-five females between the ages of 18 and 30 completed measures of affective and cognitive empathy, and trait anxiety. Participants either underwent an anxiety or relaxation induction, prior to completing measures of affective and cognitive empathy performance. Robust positive correlations were found between trait cognitive and trait affective empathy, and trait and performance affective empathy. ANCOVA analysis revealed that state anxiety impaired affective empathy performance when controlling for trait empathy, however, was not observed to have an impact on cognitive empathy performance. Regression analysis revealed that trait anxiety and empathy did not moderate the influence of state anxiety on affective empathy performance. The findings suggest that irrespective of trait levels of anxiety and empathy, women became less affectively empathic when anxious.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Clin.Psy.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Clin.Psy.D.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Life & Environmental Sciences
School or Department: School of Psychology
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)


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