Publication Date

2006

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)

Department

Counselor Education

Abstract

This thesis is an examination of empathy through research of a multitude of sources. Included is a description of the empathy program implemented to sixth graders, including the results of this research project conducted by a Graduate Student at SUNY Brockport. The definition of empathy, prosocial behaviors, and characteristics of bullies and victims was explored. The researcher‘s intent was to determine if empathy was a key component in maintaining children‘s positive relationships with each other, as well as decreasing bullying behaviors. This thesis also explored whether empathy had an effect on increasing a sixth grade child‘s instances of prosocial behavior. The researcher also attempted to determine if empathy could be taught to sixth graders through an eightweek character education program. Bryant‘s Index of Empathy for Children and Adolescence, developed by Brenda K. Bryant, and a Character Education Instrument developed by the researcher was used to determine if empathic tendencies were increased in sixth grade children following an eight-week character education program. The results of the study determined that empathy and knowledge of general character education traits could be taught to sixth grade students.

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