Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)


Music Education and Music Therapy (Music)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Don D. Coffman

Second Committee Member

Carlos R. Abril

Third Committee Member

Stephen F. Zdzinski

Fourth Committee Member

Brian T. Powell

Fifth Committee Member

Joshua Diem


The purpose of this study was to explore connections among perceived caring climate, empathy, and student social behaviors in high school bands. Nine high school band directors, along with their students, from Miami-Dade County Public Schools voluntarily participated in the study (N = 203 students, N = 9 schools). Participants completed an electronic questionnaire for variables of caring climate, cognitive empathy, affective empathy, positive social behaviors, negative social behaviors, and victimization. Demographic information for both students and teachers were also collected, along with school and band information. Two multiple linear regressions were performed and results showed that cognitive empathy predicted positive social behavior. Caring climate also influenced student social behavior; students with higher perceptions of caring climate were less likely to engage in negative social behavior. T-tests and ANOVA results showed that student perceptions of caring climate differed according to (a) the number of years their teachers have taught at current school, (b) band size, (c) school socioeconomic status, and (d) whether the students held a leadership position in band. Students had higher perceptions of band caring climate when (a) teachers remained at the school for more than five years, (b) bands had smaller enrollments, (c) schools were Title One schools, and (d) when students did not hold leadership positions in band. Although victimization did not seem to be problematic, some students did report varying levels of victimization, mostly psychological and social bullying. Students who reported victimization perceived caring climate lower than students who did not report any victimization.


Caring; Music Education; Band; Social Behavior, Adolescence; Empathy