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Sex, college major, and attribution of responsibility in empathic responding to persons with HIV infection

Becares, L; Turner, C; (2004) Sex, college major, and attribution of responsibility in empathic responding to persons with HIV infection. PSYCHOL REP , 95 (2) 467 - 476.

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Abstract

This investigation studied the influence of sex, college major, and attributed responsibility on college students' empathic responding towards persons infected with HIV. We hypothesized that (1) women would score higher on empathy than men; (2) nursing and psychology majors would score higher on empathy than business and computer science majors; and (3) participants would score higher on empathy towards a target who contracted HIV through blood transfusion (presented as a Nonresponsible target) rather than through unprotected sex (presented as a Responsible target). Two hundred and fifty-eight undergraduate students (110 male, 148 female) attending a large urban university in the northeast filled out an anonymous demographic questionnaire, the Interpersonal Reactivity Index of Davis (1983), and an Empathy Reaction Scale that was developed by the authors. Results indicated a higher mean Empathy Reaction score from nursing and psychology students as compared to business and computer science students. There was no difference in Empathy Reaction scores between men and women. A higher Empathy Reaction score was found among participants who had read a diary from the target portrayed as Nonresponsible, as opposed to those who read a diary from the target portrayed as Responsible.

Type: Article
Title: Sex, college major, and attribution of responsibility in empathic responding to persons with HIV infection
Keywords: EMOTIONAL EMPATHY, SELF-ESTEEM, ATTITUDES, STUDENTS, JUDGMENTS, BEHAVIOR, FEELINGS, HEALTH
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Pop Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Pop Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health > Epidemiology and Public Health
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/175007
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