Journal of Adult Development

, Volume 6, Issue 4, pp 195–203 | Cite as

Empathic-Cognitive Development in Students of Counseling

  • Chris Lovell


Empathy is both crucial to counseling and a desired outcome in higher education. Since the 1960s, many studies have examined the relationship between stages of adult cognitive development and level of empathy, particularly in counselors. Though positive, findings related to this critical research focus have been grounded in small, local samples, leading several investigators to call for a replication using a large, national sample. In response, this study surveyed 340 graduate student members of a large professional counseling association across the United States. Results indicated that more mature forms of thought (according to the Perry scheme) are associated with higher empathy levels (Hogan scale). Implications are drawn for adult development theory, education of counselors, and higher education reform.

Cognitive development postformal thought empathy college student counselor Perry Hogan 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Old Dominion UniversityNorfolk

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