Cognitive and affective empathy in aggressive boys: Implications for counseling

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    The purpose of the study was to explore cognitive and affective empathy in aggressive boys. A difference between aggressive boys and their non-aggressive peers was anticipated, particularly in affective empathy. Fifty-two boys (25 aggressive and 27 non-aggressive) were compared for levels of aggression and for cognitive and affective empathy as expressed during a group interview involving bibliotherapy. Results confirmed the main hypothesis; that is, aggressive boys showed a lower level of affective empathy, although the groups did not differ in cognitive empathy. The proportion of affective empathy among non-aggressive boys was double that among aggressive children. Affective empathy seems to increase with age, although this result was inconsistent. The aggressive boys also showed a higher level of endorsing aggression. The discussion focuses on implications for counseling aggressive boys.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)211-222
    Number of pages12
    JournalInternational Journal for the Advancement of Counselling
    Issue number4
    StatePublished - 2002

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Education
    • Applied Psychology
    • Psychology (miscellaneous)


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