Can the empathic underpinning of counselling psychologists detect gelotophobic responses to expressions of joy above non-counselling psychologists and psychology others?
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AuthorsFlowers, Trevor A.
MetadataShow full item record
AbstractGelotophobes have a negative attribution bias skewing appraisal of laughter meaning expressions of joy negatively affect interpersonal interactions and could be a barrier to positive outcomes in therapy. This study investigated participants’ perceptions of gelotophobes and non-gelotophobes responding to expressions of joy and examined whether the empathic underpinnings of counselling psychology afforded greater empathy and was a predictive factor in correctly identifying facial affect. This study was a quasi-experimental design employing a quantitative method. Participants (N = 144) consisted of counselling psychologists (CP) (n = 44), non-psychologists (NP) (n = 54), and psychology other (PO) (n = 46). Participants were shown emotional stimuli, pre-coded using Facial Action Coding System (FACS), depicting gelotophobes and non-gelotophobes responding to expressions of joy and asked to identify the emotion from a choice of seven basic emotions. Participants also completed the Interpersonal Reactivity Index (IRI) and the Empathy Quotient (EQ) questionnaires to discern affective and cognitive empathy levels. Results found significant differences in the correct identification, and perception, of non-gelotophobes’ and gelotophobes’ facial affect. CP had significantly higher levels of cognitive empathy and identified significantly more gelotophobe emotional states than NP, but differences with the PO were non-significant. There was also a positive correlation between cognitive empathy and number of emotions correctly identified. Cognitive empathy, however, did not mediate between participant group and correctly identifying gelotophobes’ facial affect; as such, further research is needed to understand these findings. There were also no significant differences in affective empathy. Research highlights factors contributing to gelotophobes’ interpersonal difficulties, a factor in the development of gelotophobia, as well as factors that will facilitate positive therapeutic outcomes.
PublisherUniversity of Wolverhampton
TypeThesis or dissertation
DescriptionA thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the University of Wolverhampton for the award of Professional Doctorate in Counselling Psychology.
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