The Gift of Empathy in Mid-life

Research reports that middle-aged women have the highest levels of empathy.


I was pleased, maybe a little smug even, to read a recent report on research showing that middle-aged women have the most empathy of all segments of the population, published in the Journal of Gerontology—Psychological Sciences. This pleased me in part because as a social worker and social work instructor, empathy is a major concept and skill we use in our work with clients and teach our students to embrace. Empathy means being able to see things from the perspective of another, to understand how their experience feels to them, and it can be a powerful tool in forming and maintaining trusting relationships…

Women at mid-life can become empathy leaders in our private lives and in public discourse. We have unprecedented opportunities to offer others our not insubstantial gifts: experience, patience, humor, attention, and perspective.

by Kathryn Betts Adams, Ph.D., M.S.W.