ERIC Number: ED253344
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1984
Toward a Multi-Component Developmental Model of Parent Empathy.
Michaels, Gerald Y.
This paper explores important conceptual issues that confront researchers who wish to study the role of empathy in parent-child interaction. Part I reviews the major existing theories of parent empathy offered by the psychoanalytic-object relations and the client-centered schools of thought. In part II, a new processing model derived from the general area of empathy research is proposed as a vehicle for concretizing existing theoretical frameworks. This four-stage sequential process includes (1) an affective perception phase, in which the parent attends to and perceives overt behavioral cues indicative of the child's affective experience; (2) an affective reverberation phase, in which the parent vicariously shares the child's emotional experience; (3) a cognitive processing phase, in which the parent detaches from and interprets this last feeling; and (4) a communicative phase, in which the parent provides feedback to the child that his or her feelings have been noticed, shared, and understood. While this model shows some characteristics of other empathic relationships, it is suggested that unique elements of parent empathy indicate the need for specialized study. In part III, three elements unique to parent empathy are discussed in terms of research needs and empathy training. These are the child's long term dependent relationship with the parent, the existence of a naturally emerging motivation for the parent to be empathic, and the developmental nature of parent-child empathy. (CB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association (92nd, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, August 24-28, 1984).