Universal Journal of Educational Research Vol. 4(3), pp. 531 - 538
DOI: 10.13189/ujer.2016.040309
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An Investigation of Empathy of Foster Families, Turkey


Bilgin Kıray Vural 1,*, Özlem Körükçü 1, Neriman Aral 2, Gökhan Körükçü 3
1 Healthcare Services Vocational School, Pamukkale University, Turkey
2 Turkish Statistical Institute, Turkey
3 Faculty of Health Sciences, Ankara University, Ankara, Turkey

ABSTRACT

Objectives empathy brings people closer and facilitates communication in almost all the fields of daily life. Having been an important dimension of foster care, empathetic skills should be developed in a foster family. In this study, we aimed to determine the empathic level of the foster families. Methods this cross-sectional study on foster families was performed in Turkey. Research data was collected from 124 fosters parents. Two instruments were used in the survey: the personal information form and the Basic Empathy Scale. The volunteers were chosen by applying a non-probability sampling method, i.e. the "snowball" method. The data were analyzed using SPSS statistical software, Version 18.0. Results, The foster parents had a mean age of 48.37±9.36. Most of foster carers (89.5%) were married. 76.6% of foster families had their own biological child, among them, 29.5% had one, 54.7% had two, and 15.8% had three children. The percentage of foster families that preferred female, and male children, were 76.6%, and 23.4%, respectively. Among the children, who had been placed in foster parent households, 42.7% aged less than 3 years, 31.5% between 4-6 years, and 25.8% more than 7 years. The ratio of parents, who defined foster family concept as "social responsibility," "protection," "own age," and "charity" were 76.6%, 71.1%, 58.1%, and 45.2%, respectively. The ratio of those, who thought that to be a foster carer matured a person, was 62.9%, whereas the ratio of those, who emphasized that they became role model for their environment, was 77.4%. The subjects were asked to empathize with the relevant biological families, and that 59.7% gave first priority to "I want to be sure about my child's safety", 29.8% to "I want to be sure that my child is in good hands", 7.3% to "I want to see that my child is valued". Also 56.5% of foster families pointed out that they were disturbed by the idea that one they the child might be sent back to his/her biological family. General Cronbach's alpha co-efficient of the instrument was found to be .76. The empathy scores of foster families in this study were higher than the average. Despite the fact that the foster families hold higher empathic skills in Turkey, it is observed that this service is still conducted with a traditional perspective.

KEYWORDS
Foster Family, Foster Children, Empathy

Cite this paper
Bilgin Kıray Vural , Özlem Körükçü , Neriman Aral , Gökhan Körükçü . "An Investigation of Empathy of Foster Families, Turkey." Universal Journal of Educational Research 4.3 (2016) 531 - 538. doi: 10.13189/ujer.2016.040309.