Empathy and assertiveness training in a nursing home environment

Charlotte Ann Gallagher, Fordham University


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of an empathy/assertiveness communication skills intervention. It was hypothesized that the communication intervention would effect change in personal adjustment assessed by measures of empathy, assertiveness, life satisfaction, and internal locus of control as well as social adjustment assessed by isolation. The sample consisted of 86 male and female elderly subjects with a mean age of 84.6. Results from the 3 (social skills, current events, and non-treatment control group) by 2 (immediate posttest, & 2 month posttest) repeated measures ANCOVA showed that the treatment group made significant gains in empathy, which were maintained over a two-month period of time, when compared to the current events and control groups. Additionally, significant gains in life satisfaction and sociability were evident in the social skills and current events groups. Results from the Pearson product-moment correlations showed that in the social skills group there was a relationship between isolation at the pretest time and life satisfaction at posttest 1. Also, correlational hypotheses showed no relationship between perceived health and any dependent variable. It is argued that an empathic social skills intervention can improve quality of communication and life satisfaction within a nursing home environment.

Subject Area

Developmental psychology|Gerontology

Recommended Citation

Gallagher, Charlotte Ann, "Empathy and assertiveness training in a nursing home environment" (1993). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9324615.