Fostering Empathic Skills in Mainstream Public School Pupils: Efficacy Assessment of the EPaN Empathy Training Program

Sebastian Ludwig Hirn, Regina Weißmann, Christof Zoelch, Joachim Thomas


Empathic skills are called for in every social interaction, but there are few evidence-based programs in the mainstream public school sector exclusively dedicated to fostering the empathic sub-components of recognition of emotions, emotional perspective taking and affective responsiveness in pupils. The EPaN program is based on the latest scientific knowledge and best practices that can be taught in the classroom.

In the course of eight school weeks, using a pre-post-test design we studied the effectiveness of an empathy training program (EPaN) in nine classes with a total of 123 mainstream public school pupils aged 11.2 to 15.2 years, divided into intervention groups that were assigned a total of 24 exercises of 15 to 40 minutes duration and control groups that followed the regular lesson plan.

After the training, variance analysis showed a significant improvement in the empathic sub-capacities for recognition of emotion, emotional perspective taking and affective responsiveness in the intervention groups compared to the control groups. These results are examined in light of their importance and adaptability of the EPaN program to educational practice.

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Journal of Education and Training Studies  ISSN 2324-805X (Print)   ISSN 2324-8068 (Online)

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