Published Oct 5, 2018

Qing Zhang  


This study investigated empathy of pre-service teachers specializing in primary-school education. It was conducted to determine the factors that affect the empathy levels of students by normal University. The research questions, developed in the countryside context, aimed to determine the roles of gender, normal university or non-normal university, academic education, parental rearing patterns and personality in the empathy levels of pre-teachers. The study group consisted of students (n=287), including 170 normal university students practicing teaching in a rural area. An independent t-test was used to determine whether the empathy of pre-service teachers varied by gender and others factors. The analyses found that the student’s average empathy was high and their performance on the concern dimension of empathy varied by gender, normal university or non-normal university. The results also showed that the students’ scores on the personal distress dimension of empathy varied by academic education and personality characteristics. There were no significant differences in other dimensions.


Download data is not yet available.



Empathy, Cultivation, Pre-Service Teacher

Supporting Agencies

This research was supported by Philosophy and Social Science Research Project in University of Jiangsu Province. No. 2015SJB252.

Survey research provides financial support to the project by the university from Scholarships-Doctor’s Program. No.JSNU2015BZ12.

Becerra, R., Campitelli, G. (2013). Emotional reactivity: critical analysis and proposal of a new scale. Int J Appl Psychol, 3(6):161-168.

Derksen, F., Bensing, J., Lagro-Janssen, A. (2013) Effectiveness of empathy in general practice: a systematic review. Br J Gen Pract, 63 (606):e76-e84.

Dewaele, J.M., Wei, L. (2012). Multilingualism, empathy and multi-competence, Int J Multiling, 9(4):352-366.

Grant, S.G. (2001). It’s just the facts, or is it? The relationship between teachers' practices and students' understandings of history, Theory Res Soc Educ 29(1):65-108.

Guan, M. (2012).Investigation on the empathy of middle school teachers. J Ment Health Edu Prim Second Sch, (3):22-24.

Henry, G,L., Robert, S. (1940). A. Greek-English. Lexicon. Revised and augmented throughout by Sir Henry Stuart Jones with the assistance of Roderick McKenzie. Oxford, Clarendon Press.

Hodges, S.D., Klein, K.J. (2001).Regulating the costs of empathy: the price of being human. J Socio-Eco, 30(5):437-452.

Ikiz, F.E. (2009). Investigation of empathy levels of the psychological counselors who work in the elementary schools. Elem Educ Online, 8(2):346-356.

Kaya, B. (2016). An evaluation of the empathy levels of pre-service social studies teachers. Educ Res Rev, 11(6):229-237.

Kirsi, T. (2003). The moral concerns and orientations of sixth- and ninth-grade students, Edu Res Eval Int J Theory Pract, 9(1):93-108.

Kliegel, M., Jäger, T., Phillips, L.H. (2007). Emotional development across adulthood: Differential age-related emotional reactivity and emotion regulation in A negative mood induction procedure. Int J Aging Hum Dev, 64(3):217-244.

Kring, A.M., Gordon, A.H. (1998). Sex differences in emotion: expression, experience, and physiology. J Pers Soc Psychol, 74(3):686-703.

Kunzmann, U., Grühn, D. (2005). Age differences in emotional reactivity: The sample case of sadness. Psychol Aging, 20(1):47-59.

Lawrence, E.J., Shaw, P., Baker, D., Baron-Cohen, S., David, A.S. (2004).Measuring empathy: reliability and validity of the empathy quotient. Psychol Med 34:911-924.

Marshall, L.E., Marshall, W.L. (2011). Empathy and antisocial behavior. J Forensic Psych Psychol, 22(5):742-759.

Morelli, S.A., Lieberman M.D., Zaki, J. (2015) The emerging study of positive empathy. Soc Person Psychol Compass, 9:57-68.

Myyry, L., Helkama, K. (2001). University students' value priorities and emotional empathy. Edu Psychol Int J Exp Edu Psychol, 21(1):25-40.

Nock, M.K., Wedig, M.M., Holmberg, E.B., Hooley, M.J. (2008). The emotion reactivity scale: development, evaluation, and relation to self-injurious thoughts and behaviors. Behav Therap, 39:107-116.

Parkins, R. (2012). Gender and emotional expressiveness: an analysis of prosodic features in emotional expression. Griffith Work Paper Pragmat Intercult Comm, 5(1):46-54.

Pijnenborg, G. H. M., Spikman, J. M., Jeronimus, B. F., Aleman, A. (2013). Insight in schizophrenia: Associations with empathy. Eur Arch Psych Clin Neurosci, 263(4):299-307.

Rogers, C.R. (1975). Empathic: an unappreciated way of being. Counsel Psychol, 5:2-10.

Rueckert, L., Branch, B., Doan, T. (2011). Are gender differences in empathy due to differences in emotional reactivity? Psychology, 6(2):574-578.

Sato, M., Lensmire, T.J. (2009). Poverty and Payne: Supporting teachers to work with children of poverty. Phi Delta Kappan, 90(5): 365.

Sawilowsky, S. (2009). New effect size rules of thumb. J Modem Appl Stat Method, 8(2):467-474.

Segal, E.A., Cimino, A.N., Gerdes, K.E., Harmon, J.K., Wagaman, M.A. (2013). A confirmatory factor analysis of the interpersonal and social empathy index. J Soc Soc Work Res, 4(3):131-153.

Sharma, P. (2014). Gender differences in emotional reactivity to daily life stress in major depressive disorder: thesis paper. IOSR J Dent Med Sci, 13(7):55-59.

Silvers, J.A., Gabrieli, J.D.E., McRae, K., Gross, J.J., Remy, K.A., Ochsner, K.N. (2012). Age-Related differences in emotional reactivity, regulation, and rejection sensitivity in adolescence. Emotion, 12(6):1235-1247.

Yan, Z., Zhang, Q., Yang, X (2012). Effects of empathy on the tendency to help others: personality regulation. Chin J Clin Psychol, 20(06):858-860.

Zhang, F., Dong, Y., Wang, K., Zhan, Z., Xie, L. (2010). Reliability and validity of Chinese interpersonal response scale (IRI-C), Chin J Clin Psychol, 18(2):155-157.
How to Cite
Zhang, Q. (2018). A Study on Cultivating Pre-Service Teacher Empathy. Science Insights Education Frontiers, 1(1), 41–52. https://doi.org/10.15354/sief.18.ar019
Original Article