Empathie bei Patienten mit multiplen somatoformen Symptomen und gesunden Kontrollen

Empathie ist essentiell für das Gelingen sozialer Interaktionen und wird häufig in Zusammenhang mit altruistischem Verhalten diskutiert. Als Therapeutenvariable ist Empathie wichtiger Untersuchungsgegenstand der Psychotherapieforschung. Als Patientenvariable im Sinne eines Bestandteils klinischer...

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Bibliographic Details
Main Author: Ruckmann, Judith
Contributors: Rief, Winfried (Prof. Dr.) (Thesis advisor)
Format: Doctoral Thesis
Published: Philipps-Universität Marburg 2015
Online Access:PDF Full Text
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Empathy is crucial for successful social interactions and is also discussed in the context of altruistic behavior. As a therapists’ variable, empathy is one of the main objects of investigation in psychotherapy research. In contrast, altered empathic experience as clinical symptom and therefore, as patients’ variable has rarely been explored. This work provides empirical evidences for current neuroscientific models of empathy and its modulation, especially for the Network-Model (Engen & Singer, 2013). Furthermore, empathy in somatization patients has been explored for the first time. In the first survey, the impact of experimentally generated groups on the experience of empathy was investigated using an fMRI paradigm. In this study, 30 healthy subjects participated. Group membership resulted in neuronal activation differences. However, the behavioral outcome seemed to be unaffected by group membership. The aim of the second study was to assess the relationship between empathy, somatization and emotion regulation. For this purpose, 48 patients with multiple somatoform symptoms, as well as 48 healthy controls were explored. Compared to the control group, patients report a higher level of distress during the experience of empathy and also a broader range of emotional dysregulation. Additionally, it has been successfully shown that somatization is related to emotion regulation deficits. It has been demonstrated that experimentally generated groups have an influence on empathy, although their impact is limited. Furthermore, the hypothesis that emotion regulation affects empathic experience, as well as the assumption that emotion regulation processes contain specific kinds of executive functions, has been confirmed empirically. In conclusion, emotion regulation seems to be closely related to empathy. Therefore, it seems to be necessary that theoretic models of empathy are extended by including emotion regulation processes.