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ERIC Number: ED176898
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1979
Pages: 18
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: 0
Empathy in Young Children: Relationship to Parents' Empathy, Affection, and Emphasis on the Feelings of Others.
Barnett, Mark A.; And Others
The ability to empathize, or experience the emotions of another individual, has frequently been suggested as an important factor in the child's moral development and expression of prosocial behaviors. The present investigation sought to explore the relationship between the young child's empathy (as assessed by the Feshbach and Roe measure) and the parents' self-reported empathy, affection, and emphasis on another individual's feelings in discipline and nondiscipline situations. A total of 54 preschool and kindergarten children, 26 boys and 28 girls from two-parent families in a small middle class community in northeastern Kansas, took part in the study. All but two of the children were Caucasian. The age range for the entire sample was 47-77 months, with a mean of 62.54 months. Over 75% of both the mothers (mean age = 32.00 years) and fathers (mean age = 33.35 years) had had at least two years of college education. No relationship between boys' empathy scores and the parent measures was found. Heightened empathy in 4- to 6-year-old girls was found to be associated with a particular, sex-stereotyped pattern of mother-father empathy in which mothers reported high empathy and fathers reported low empathy. Many of the factors believed to enhance the development of empathy were reported to be more prevalent in the mother's interaction with the child than in the father's. (Author/RH)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: N/A