Qualitative and quantitative evaluations of an empathy training program for couples in marriage and romantic relationships

Jeffrey J. Angera, Edgar C.J. Long

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Forty-two individuals in marital and cohabiting relationships volunteered to participate in a 10-hour empathy training program. The five session program was evaluated both quantitatively and qualitatively. The qualitative evaluation interviews with a subset of the 42 individuals were aimed at developing an evaluation of participants' experiences of the training. For the quantitative component of the study, couples were randomly assigned to either a treatment or wait listed comparison group. Both groups completed the five-week training program at different times. The change in empathy was assessed by several repeated measures analyses of variance. The quantitative assessment replicated the positive results of earlier findings and demonstrated the reliability of the training program to bring about increased empathic interaction with a partner. Scores on three empathy measures improved in both groups over the six month period. The qualitative assessment yielded clear indications of participants' motivation to participate, a delineation of the benefits gleaned from the program, suggestions for improving the training process, and challenges experienced with the training. Implications for further research and program adaptation are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-26
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Couple and Relationship Therapy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 27 2006


  • Empathy
  • Marriage
  • Relationship education evaluation
  • Relationship enhancement
  • Relationship satisfaction


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