Posted by & filed under Child Development, Early Social and Emotional development, General Psychology, Human Development, Industrial Organizational Psychlology, Industrial Organizational Psychology, Stress Coping - Health, Student Success.

Description: I have provided two article links below. The first is to a general online article that talks about the sorts of things parents and teachers should be working on with children that will make those children more employable later on in young adulthood. That article concludes by suggesting that training in empathy for all children would be a good idea. This is certainly true. Check out the Canadian developed program “Roots of Empathy” to see how far-reaching positive developmental support for empathy can be. But what about the employ-ability claims. Well the other article link is to a recently published research article that looks at levels of empathy among emerging adult university students developmentally over time. The claims and findings are rather surprising. Consider this, university students today are significantly less empathic than university students in previous decades. Also consider that employers are consciously interested in the level of empathy shown by potential hires, not simply because it reflects the extent to which they are “nice” or ethical but because it speaks to job candidates a level of Emotional Intelligence or the extent to which they are aware of and competent in acting and getting along in social contexts (and work places are usually social contexts in many ways). SO if empathy is important and if there is not enough of it in current university students what should those university students do to increase their employ-ability?

Source: Skills that improve employability: Empathy (2 links below)

Date: posted June 7, 2017

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Links:  Article Links: General article:

                                Research Article:


Even if you are only able to look at the abstract of the research article linked above you can see some of the key findings of this research.  Involvement in academic clubs, and paid employment lead to positive growth in empathy in the longitudinal study whereas involvement in fraternities seems to inhibit empathic growth. However, before you start to write prescriptions for empathy growth among university students think a bit about the results and whether we can make comfortable causal attributions. Also think a bit about what might be done earlier that university in relation to the development of empathy.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. How might empathy be related to organizational job success (why do employers look for it)?
  2. What sorts of factors or experienced stimulate the development of empathy?
  3. How does the use of a longitudinal design in the research article linked above change how we think about the results compared to how we might think about it is the study were just cross-sectional (comparing the stated experiences of low versus high empathy students at a single point in time)?

References (Read Further):

Hudson-Flege, M., & Thompson, M. P. (2017). Empathy and Extracurricular Involvement in Emerging Adulthood: Findings from a Longitudinal Study of Undergraduate College Males. Journal of College Student Development, 58(5), 674-684.

Rasoal, C., Danielsson, H., & Jungert, T. (2012). Empathy among students in engineering programmes. European journal of engineering education, 37(5), 427-435.

Crossman, J. E., & Clarke, M. (2010). International experience and graduate employability: Stakeholder perceptions on the connection. Higher education, 59(5), 599-613.

Teding van Berkhout, E., & Malouff, J. M. (2016). The efficacy of empathy training: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trial.  Journal of Counselling Psychology, 63(1), 32-41.

Roots of Empathy: