Date Approved


Graduate Degree Type


Degree Name

Nursing (M.S.N.)

Degree Program

College of Nursing

First Advisor

Andrea C. Bostrom

Second Advisor

Katherine K. Kim

Third Advisor

John Zaugra


The purpose of the study was to determine to what degree nurses vary in their utilization of empathy when responding to patients experiencing different types of physical and emotional discomfort. Nurse participants ({dollar}N = 32{dollar}) worked primarily in a hospital setting. They were administered the Behavioral Test of Interpersonal Skills and responded to videotaped vignettes. Actors portrayed patients exhibiting pain, anxiety, depression, or anger. "Feeling", "Content", or "Don't Feel" were the three categories scored. "Don't Feel" responses negate or suppress patient's feelings.; A chi-square was done to compare "don't feel" responses to all other responses. "Don't Feel" responses were generally used in depression, anger, and anxiety. Nurses tended to identify feeling responses better in pain. Nurses reflected content more often than feelings for depression, anger and anxiety.; Many nurse subjects offered solutions to the problems offered by the patient. In general nurses use of empathy was limited.


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