Empathic Anger, Service Learning, and Civic Education

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  • 1. EMPATHIC ANGER, SERVICE LEARNING, & CIVIC ENGAGEMENT Ashley Hedgepath and Robert Bringle, Appalachian State University Patti Clayton, PHC Ventures and UNC Greensboro 2014 PACE Conference February 5, 2014 University of North Carolina Wilmington
  • 2. EMPATHY AND SERVICE LEARNING Students who engaged in SL... Showed greater empathy and cognitive complexity than comparison groups (Courneya, 1994) Reported greater acceptance of cultural diversity (Melchoir, 1999; Berkas, 1997) Reported higher postproject empathy scores compared to other students (Lundy, 2007) Were significantly more likely to express empathy in their reflective writing than the students who did not participate in SL (Wilson, 2011)
  • 3. WHY SERVICE-LEARNING IMPROVES EMPATHY Students break the barriers between themselves and the people with different needs, diversity of culture, and opportunities. They don't limit themselves to feeling and thinking about empathy only. Instead, they act on it, and this action allows empathy to integrate as a real attitude.
  • 4. Observation Empathic Distress Sympathetic Distress Empathic Feeling of Injustice Empathic Anger Guilt over Inaction Empathy: an individuals (a) emotional reaction that is congruent with another persons feelings; and (b) concern for the welfare of that person (e.g., Hoffman, 2000; Batson et al., 1997; Eisenberg, 1986; Krebs, 1975; Stotland, 1969) HOW EMPATHY IS SHAPED BY CAUSAL ATTRIBUTION
  • 5. EMPATHIC ANGER Trait Empathic Anger (TEA) Scale (Vitaglione & Barnett, 2003) I get angry when a friend of mine is hurt by someone else. I feel angry for other people when they have been victimized by others. Findings: Empathic anger is unique from empathy as sadness Reliable effects of empathic anger on prosocial desires
  • 6. METHODS Participants: N = 152 students Questionnaire: REAHedgepath, Wall, & Bringle Volunteer Functions Inventory: Interpersonal Reactivity Index (Empathy) Davis Social Dominance Orientation Pratto et al. Aggression questionnaire Beck & Perry
  • 7. MEASUREMENT The Revised Empathic Anger (REA) Scale 8-item self-report measure My anger towards inequality has motivated me to take action against it. Problems like social injustice make me mad, so I volunteer to help resolve them.
  • 8. A civic-minded graduate is one who a)is formally educated and b)has the capacity and orientation to work with others c) in a democratic way d)to improve the community DEFINITION OF A CIVIC MINDED GRADUATE
  • 9. MEASUREMENTS CMG Scale: 30-item self-report measure of knowledge, skills, dispositions, and behavioral intentions
  • 10. MEASUREMENTS transfer of resources to those in need Charity working together to address a problem Project empowering the disenfranchised to change the system Social Change Mortons Types of Service
  • 11. MEASUREMENT Volunteer Functions Inventory (VFI): self-report measure examining the functional motives for volunteering (Clary & Snyder) Protective Motives a way of protecting the ego from the difficulties of life Values a way to express ones altruistic and humanitarian values Career a way to improve career prospects Social a way to develop and strengthen social ties Understanding a way to gain knowledge, skills, and abilities Enhancement a way to help the ego grow and develop
  • 12. MEASUREMENTS Interpersonal Reactivity Index (IRI; Davis, 1983): measure of dispositional empathy that takes the notion that empathy consists of a set of separate but related constructs. the tendency to spontaneously adopt the psychological point of view of others Perspectiv eTaking Tendency to transpose themselves imaginatively into the feelings and actions of fictitious characters in books, movies, and plays Fantasy "other-oriented" feelings of sympathy and concern for unfortunate others Empathic Concern "self-oriented" feelings of personal anxiety and unease in tense interpersonal settings) Personal Distress
  • 13. MEASUREMENTS Social Dominance Orientation (SDO) Scale: measure of individual differences in levels of group-based discrimination (Pratto et al.) Some groups of people are simply inferior to other groups. Its OK if some groups have more of a chance in life than others. To get ahead in life, it is sometimes necessary to step on other groups.
  • 14. MEASUREMENTS Aggression: measure of physical aggression, verbal aggression, anger and hostility (Buss & Perry) Physical Aggression Given enough provocation, I may hit another person. Verbal Aggresion I often find myself disagreeing with people Angry Aggression I have trouble controlling my temper. Hostility I am suspicious of overly friendly strangers
  • 15. RESULTS (Wall, Hedgepath, & Bringle, 2013) Correlations Positive Negative Empathy subscales (IRI) Aggression Altruism Social Dominance Orientation Past Involvement w/ Community Orgs The CMG Scale
  • 16. CORRELATIONS OF REA WITH MORTONS TYPES OF SERVICE Charity/ Direct Service .14 Projects .26* Social Change/ Advocacy .53** .14
  • 17. IMPLICATIONS A new perspective on a motive for service that has not been in the service learning literature. Although based on anger, it is distinct from aggressive responses Empathic anger is clearly aligned with concern for others
  • 18. It is not enough for people to be angry. [] The supreme task is to organize and unite people so that their anger becomes a transforming force. -Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • 19. QUESTIONS ABOUT EMPATHIC ANGER IN TEACHING Have you seen empathic anger in your work with students?
  • 20. QUESTIONS ABOUT EMPATHIC ANGER IN TEACHING Should empathic anger be an educational objective in a service learning course? a)If so, how can it be developed?
  • 21. QUESTIONS ABOUT EMPATHIC ANGER IN TEACHINGHow should courses be designed to develop empathic anger? How should reflection be structured for empathic anger?
  • 22. DEVELOPING EMPATHIC ANGER Reflections Community Partners Placement Documentaries Music Key Readings
  • 23. FUTURE RESEARCH QUESTIONS Anger is produced when goals are threatened, but the threat can be overcome (Mackeun et al., 2010) If the threat is perceived as too large to reasonably overcome, the result is often motivational ambivalence (Cameron & Payne, 2009) So What is the relationship between self- efficacy and the arousal of empathic anger? How can we help students feel more efficacious?
  • 24. FUTURE RESEARCH QUESTIONS What is the relationship between empathic anger and prosocial behavior (beyond behavioral intention or self- reports)?