ArticlePDF Available

Abstract and Figures

Since the 1970s there has been a growing interest in analysing sex differences in psychological variables. Empirical studies and meta-analyses have contributed evidence on the differences between male and female individuals. More recently, the gender similarities hypothesis has supported the similarity of men and women in most psychological variables. This study contributes information on women's greater empathic disposition in comparison with men by means of a longitudinal design in an adolescent population. 505 male and female adolescents aged between 13 and 16 years were evaluated at two different moments (grade 2 and grade 3, lower secondary education). They completed the Index of Empathy for Children and Adolescents by Bryant and the Interpersonal Reactivity Index by Davis. The results confirm a greater empathic response in females than in males of the same age, differences growing with age. The sizes of the effect estimated in the second evaluation (average age 14 years) are large for emotional empathy and medium for cognitive empathy.
Content may be subject to copyright.
Since the 1970s there has been a growing interest in analysing sex differences in
psychological variables. Empirical studies and meta- analyses have contributed evidence
on the differences between male and female individuals. More recently, the gender
similarities hypothesis has supported the similarity of men and women in most
psychological variables. This study contributes information on women’s greater empathic
disposition in comparison with men by means of a longitudinal design in an adolescent
population. 505 male and female adolescents aged between 13 and 16 years were evaluated
at two different moments (grade 2 and grade 3, lower secondary education). They completed
the Index of Empathy for Children and Adolescents by Bryant and the Interpersonal
Reactivity Index by Davis. The results confirm a greater empathic response in females
than in males of the same age, differences growing with age. The sizes of the effect
estimated in the second evaluation (average age 14 years) are large for emotional empathy
and medium for cognitive empathy.
Keywords: empathy, gender differences, adolescence
Desde la década de los 70 se incrementa el interés por analizar las diferencias de género
en las variables psicológicas y se publican estudios empíricos y trabajos de meta-análisis
que aportan evidencia de las diferencias entre varones y mujeres. Más recientemente
se ha planteado la hipótesis de la similitud de género que defiende la semejanza entre
varones y mujeres en la mayoría de los constructos psicológicos. Este estudio aporta
datos sobre la mayor disposición empática en la mujer respecto al varón a través de un
diseño longitudinal en población adolescente. 505 adolescentes varones y mujeres, con
un rango de edad entre 13 y 16 años fueron evaluados en dos momentos temporales
(2º y 3º curso de ESO). Cumplimentaron el Índice de Empatía de Bryant y el Índice de
Reactividad Interpersonal de Davis. Los resultados confirman mayor respuesta empática
en las adolescentes respecto a los varones de su misma edad y constatan que dichas
diferencias aumentan con la edad. Los tamaños del efecto estimados en el segundo
momento (edad media 14 años) son grandes en la empatía emocional y medios en la
cognitiva.
Palabras clave: empatía, diferencias de género, adolescencia
Are Women More Empathetic than Men?
A Longitudinal Study in Adolescence
María Vicenta Mestre, Paula Samper, María Dolores Frías, and Ana María Tur
Universidad de Valencia (Spain)
The Spanish Journal of Psychology Copyright 2009 by The Spanish Journal of Psychology
2009, Vol. 12, No. 1, 76-83 ISSN 1138-7416
Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to María Vicenta Mestre Escrivá, Departamento de Psicología Básica.
Facultad de Psicología, Universidad de Valencia, Avda. Blasco Ibáñez, 21, 46010 Valencia, Spain. Phone: +34 963 86 48 22. E-mail:
Maria.V.Mestre@uv.es
How to cite the authors of this article: Mestre, M.V, Samper, P., Frías, M.D., Tur, A.M.
76
Systematic attempts to reach conclusions about sex
differences and similarities became important in the 1970s
in psychology. The book by E. E. Maccoby and C.N. Jacklin,
The Psychology of Sex Differences (1974), is considered by
psychologists to be the greatest effort ever made in
summarising all sex comparisons carried out by
psychological research (Eagly, 1995). The authors posed a
number of questions: Are both sexes different as to their
emotional response to people and events? Is their strength
to cope with problems different? Are such differences
unavoidable or the result of arbitrary social stereotypes that
could change if society changed? Their review of almost
1,400 papers on sex differences in psychological variables
allowed them to conclude that well grounded sex differences
point to women’s greater communication skills versus men’s
better visual-spatial and mathematical ability and greater
physical and verbal aggression. In contrast, results were
ambiguous in many other variables such as fear, anxiety,
competitiveness, control–submission, and also empathy and
the will to help others. With regard to the latter two variables,
findings on altruism displayed gender similarities (Maccoby
& Jacklin, 1974). On the other hand, in his review of the
subject, Hoffman (1977) differentiated between measures
of empathy defined as an emotional response to the others’
affective condition, and perspective taking and social
sensitivity measures, concluding that women were more
empathetic than men. In 1983, a comprehensive review
published by Eisenberg and Lennon on sex differences in
the tendency to be empathetic found sex differences in favour
of women, empathy being also understood from the
emotional and cognitive perspective and comparing different
instruments. Yet, the authors pointed out that research
remained open, “to date, the only thing that can be concluded
with confidence is that many important issues concerning
sex differences in emotional empathy are, as yet, unresolved”
(Eisenberg & Lennon, 1983, p. 126).
In Davis’s multidimensional approach to empathy
measurement, which measures cognitive and emotional
factors as components of empathic disposition, the author
concludes that significant sex differences exist for each
individual scale in his instrument (Interpersonal Reactivity
Index, IRI), women always scoring higher (Davis, 1983).
In 1990, after comparing his findings from 1974 and
those of subsequent studies, Maccoby concluded again that
results remained inconsistent in the personality and social
behaviour field. Some studies described men as being more
aggressive than women, while other studies considered men
to be more altruistic, and other studies showed women to
be more prone to be influenced by others. Maccoby adopted
a social perspective in order to justify these sex differences,
arguing that men and women are actually far more similar
and that their lives are basically marked by features shared
by everybody in a specific culture. In Maccoby’s opinion,
social behaviour should never be considered solely on the
basis of the individual but should be considered as an
interaction between two or more people, since people behave
differently with different individuals (Maccoby, 1990).
Over the past decade interest has grown in empirically
exploring the role of empathy in moral and prosocial
behaviour and as an inhibitor of aggression and antisocial
behaviour. In that context, Eisenberg reviewed the relevance
of emotions and regulation in moral development, concluding
that empathy as a regulated emotion targeted at others
motivates prosocial behaviour, establishing links between
emotional regulation and morality. In contrast, negative
emotion and a poor self-regulation capacity are connected
to maladapted behaviour and the externalisation of problems
(Eisenberg, 2000). Studies completed with Spanish
adolescent populations confirm the positive effect of empathy
on social behaviour, empathy being described as a non-
impulsive emotion oriented towards the other, while
emotional instability reaches the highest predictive power
for aggressive and antisocial behaviour. In all these studies
gender is a relevant moderating factor for these behaviours
(Calvo, González, & Martorell, 2001; Mestre, Samper, &
Frías, 2002; Sobral, Romero, Luengo, & Marzoa, 2000).
Along the same lines, studies on adolescents have pointed
to the relationship between high empathy and high altruism,
this connection being stronger in girls than in boys (Carlo,
Hausmann, Christiansen, & Randall, 2003). These results
are confirmed if processes are not simply analysed on the
basis of gender but if the orientation of the gender role is
also evaluated. Thus, a female orientation is predictive of
greater empathy both as concern for the other and as
perspective taking (Carlo, Koller, Eisenberg, Silva, &
Frohlich, 1996; Eisenberg, Zhou, & Koller, 2001) and
predictive of less criminal behaviours in adolescents with
this type of orientation (Keung Ma, 2005).
Furthermore, empathy is also significantly related to
maladapted behaviours in young people, becoming a strong
predictor of antisocial behaviour in both boys and girls, but
the emotional component is the greatest protection factor
for women (Broidy, Cauffman, Espelage, Mazerolle, &
Piquero, 2003). In other studies, empathy is associated with
less negative reactions to insults especially in males when
compared to females (Toussaint & Webb, 2005).The
interaction between empathy and gender in the prediction
of prosocial behaviour shows a strong link between empathy
and prosocial behaviour in males (McMahon, Wernsman,
& Parnes, 2006).
Lastly, current research focuses on identifying interactions
between personal and contextual factors, and within these
contextual factors research on parenting styles is a particular
interest. Thus, parenting styles characterised by affection,
control and emotional support seem to boost empathy and
prosocial development, while hostile and rigid styles marked
by a negative evaluation of the child facilitates aggression.
When such interactions are analysed from the perspective
of sex differences, girls seem to be more receptive to
affection and support in family relationships (Carlo, Raffaelli,
WOMEN’S EMPATHIC DISPOSITION 77
Laible, & Meyer, 1999; Mestre, Samper, & Frías, 2004;
Mestre, Samper, Tur, Cortés, & Nácher, 2006).
Although the studies repetitively confirm the important
regulating role of empathy in prosocial behaviour and its
inhibitory power on aggressive and antisocial behaviours,
gender plays a moderating role. The findings suggest that
the question of sex differences in empathy and social
behaviours remains unresolved and that research on prosocial
behaviour and potential moderating variables must consider
sex differences. Further research on this issue is needed to
examine the gender similarities hypothesis (Hyde, 2005).
This hypothesis suggest that men and women are similar in
most –not all- psychological variables. As far as helping
behaviour is concerned, Hyde’s meta-analytic review of 46
studies showed that differences in favour of men (situations
of greater danger) can be either large or close to zero
depending on the social environment where the behaviour
was measured. Therefore, the issue of sex differences in
prosocial behaviours is unclear. Rather, further empirical
evidence is needed to investigate sex differences in empathy,
prosocial behaviour and aggression.
Based on the gender similarities hypothesis on the one
hand and the empirical studies and reviews of recent decades
on the other, we decided to undertake this study to examine
differences or similarities between male and female
adolescents in empathy-related cognitive and emotional
processes, given the important role that it plays in adaptive
or maladaptive behaviour in youth. The findings will inform
educational programmer aimed at promoting empathy and
prosocial behaviours as inhibitors of aggressive behaviours.
Using a longitudinal design, the following hypotheses
were developed:
1. Female adolescents are more empathetic than their male
peers with regard to both the cognitive components of
empathy and the emotional ones.
2. Sex differences in empathy increase with age.
Method
Participants
The sample consisted of 505 subjects randomly selected
from state schools (30.3%) and partly subsidised ones (69.7)
from the Valencia region (Spain), their ages ranging from
13 to 16 years (242 boys and 263 girls). The study included
all classes from grade 2 (secondary education). In the first
evaluation, the participants had a mean age of 13.25 years
(SD = 0.460, 13 years minimum age and 15 years maximum
age) and in the second one mean age was 14.25 years (SD
= 0.560, 13 years minimum age and 16 years maximum
age). In the first evaluation phase (academic year 2002-
2003), subjects were in year 2, lower secondary, and in year
3 in the second phase.
Instruments
All subjects filled in the following empathy questionnaires,
adapted to the Spanish population:
Index of Empathy for Children and Adolescents (IECA;
Bryant, 1982). This index is intended to measure empathy
in different situations with emotional connotations, an
individual of the same or opposite sex being the character
of the scene/item and also including neutral statements where
empathy is expressed without a gender reference. It measures
the emotional component of empathy. It consists of 22 items:
Four with a female reference, four with a male reference and
14 without a specific reference. Answers were dichotomous
(yes or no), high scores reflecting high empathy. The internal
consistency analysis of Bryant’s instrument (1982) showed
a Cronbach’s alpha of 0.67, this value was higher with age.
In our study (Mestre, Pérez-Delgado, Frías, & Samper, 1999),
the Cronbach’s alpha reliability coefficients obtained for the
sample at the two evaluation moments were 0.75 for
Evaluation 1 and 0.77 in Evaluation 2.
Interpersonal Reactivity Index (IRI; Davis, 1980). This
instrument evaluates empathetic disposition by means of
two emotional factors and two cognitive ones: Perspective
Taking, Fantasy, Empathic Concern, and Personal Distress.
It includes 28 Likert-type items with five possible options
scoring 1 to 5. The reliability analysis of the IR empathy
questionnaire included the calculation of Cronbach’s alpha
for the four subscales in the instrument. Other studies with
Spanish adolescent populations have obtained similar
coefficients (Mestre et al., 1999; Mestre, Frías, & Samper,
2004, Mestre, Samper, Tur, Díez, & Nácher, 2001-2004)
(see Table 1). Alpha values for the present sample ranged
between 0.55 for the Personal Distress (PD) scale in
evaluation 1 and 0.68 for the Fantasy (FS) scale in evaluation
2 (see Table 1).
MESTRE, SAMPER, FRÍAS, AND TUR
78
Table 1
Reliability coefficients of Interpersonal Reactivity Index subscale in evaluation 1 and evaluation 2
Items Evaluation 1 Evaluation 2 Mestre, et al (1999) Mestre et al (2001-2004) Mestre et al (2004)
PT 7 items 0.61 0.64 0.64 0.63 0.56
FS 7 items 0.64 0.68 0.75 0.68 0.70
EC 7 items 0.62 0.62 0.58 0.64 0.65
PD 7 items 0.55 0.65 0.69 0.64 0.64
Procedure
In the first evaluation, secondary education schools were
randomly selected. A total of 22 schools and 36 classes
participated. All the groups in the corresponding level (Year
2 and Year 3) were assessed. In the research design, two
successive evaluations of the same student groups were
conducted in the first term of the school calendar, one
evaluation per year.
Subjects were evaluated in groups and at school hours
at the classroom. Verbal instructions were given before filling
in the questionnaires. They were administered in a 45 min
session (approximately) in the two evaluations.
Results
The approach of the research hypothesis requires
exploring the effect of interactions between gender and
chronological age. In our hypothesis women, were expected
to be more empathetic than men, these differences were
expected to increase with age. The study of the effect of
the interaction gender/chronological age was based on a
mixed design with two factors, sex (boy-girl) and
chronological age (Moment 1-Moment 2). The chronological
age was operationalized as two assessment period separated
by a one-year interval, as explained in the sample
description. At Moment 1, subjects were 13.25 years old
on average and at Moment 2, the mean age was 14.25 years.
Each individual variable measured with either the scales
or the subscales were analysed on the basis of this design
type.
Results from the analysis of variance using the mixed
design between sex and chronological age show a statistically
significant interaction effect with each measuring instrument
(see Table 2). The analysis of variance shows the equality
of variances (p> .05) in the mixed designs of each one of
the subscales of empathy, both in the main and interaction
effects. The fulfilment of the esfericity of covariances
matrixes is not an obstacle in our design provided that only
two groups are in each variable in our repeated measures
design. The mean scores and standard deviations of the
interaction effects between sex and chronological age can
be seen in Table 3.
Figure 1 and Figure 2 show the interactions between sex
and chronological age, for each measure used. The graphic
representations of the interactions are positive ordinal, the
girls’ mean score always being higher than that of boys,
WOMEN’S EMPATHIC DISPOSITION 79
Table 2
Results of the effect of interaction between Sex and Chronological Age in the mixed design
Instrument Fvalue p
η
2p
Index of empathy for children and adolescents (IECA)F(1, 503) = 6.461 0.011 0.013
Perspective taking (PT)F(1, 502) = 5.967 0.015 0.012
Fantasy (FS)F(1, 502) = 20.674 0.001 0.040
Emphatic concern (EC)F(1, 503) = 38.222 0.001 0.071
Personal distress (PD)F(1, 502) = 24.236 0.001 0.046
Table 3
Measure of Sex
×
Chronological Age interaction and standard deviation
Instrument Boys Girls
Evaluation 1 Evaluation 2 Evaluation 1 Evaluation 2
IECA 13,566 13,562 17,308 17,939
(3,22) (2,816) (3,227) (2,822)
PT 16,062 21,901 17,233 24,164
(4,216) (4,59) (4,21) (4,581)
FS 13,227 19,483 14,263 22,679
(4,962) (5,46) (4,97) (5,455)
EC 11,450 22,942 12,298 26,378
(3,873) (4,091) (3,87) (4,095)
PD 13,384 16,459 14,092 19,321
(4,03) (4,558) (4,03) (4,548)
* Standard deviation in brackets.
both in Year 1 and Year 2 of the evaluation. In addition, the
positive nature of the interaction effects shows that at
Moment 2, differences between the mean scores of boys
and girls increase if compared to Moment 1. The statistical
study of the interaction effect between sex and chronological
age was conducted with the Bonferroni correction for
multiple comparisons.
With regard to main effects of sex at age assessment
period, several significant differences in empathy between
boys and girls were found. In Bryant’s scale, statistically
significant differences in means between boys and girls were
found at Moment 1, with a mean difference of 3.742, p =
.001, and at Moment 2 with a mean difference of 4.377, p
= .001, the girls’ mean score always higher than that of boys
in each assessment period.
All subscales in the IRI show that mean scores for both
sexes increase with age but the girls’ higher mean values
remain, an increase in the sex differences occurring in
Evaluation 2 The ordinal effect is seen in the Perspective
Taking subscale, girls obtaining a higher mean value in each
assessment period. Differences with boys are statistically
significant for both Evaluation 1 (mean value difference
1.171, p = .002) and Evaluation 2 (mean value difference
2.263, p = .001).
MESTRE, SAMPER, FRÍAS, AND TUR
80
Figure 2. Graphic representation of mean values of interaction between Sex ×Chronological Development in Davis’s Interpersonal
Reactivity Index subescales
Figure 1. Graphic representation of mean values of interaction between
Sex ×Chronological Development in Bryant’s IECA.
Similarly, in the Fantasy subscale girls obtain a higher
mean value in each assessment period. Differences with
boys are statistically significant for both Evaluation 1 (mean
value difference 1.036, p = .02) and Evaluation 2 (mean
value difference 3.196, p = .001).
The ordinal interaction effect is identified in the Emphatic
Concern subscale, girls obtaining a higher mean value in
each assessment period. Differences with boys are
statistically ignificant for both Moment 1 (mean value
difference 0.847, p = .014) and Moment 2 (mean value
difference 3.436, p = .001).
In the Personal Distress subscale, girls obtain a higher
mean value in each assessment period. Differences with
boys are statistically significant for both Moment 1 (mean
value difference 0.707, p = .05) and Moment 2 (mean value
difference 2.862, p = .001).
The sizes of the effect of the standardised means
differences (d) identified by Bryant’s IECA are large in
Cohen‘s (1988) terms in both the first (d = 1.161) and
second evaluation (d = 1.552) (see Table 4). Davis’s IRI
instrument shows that in the first evaluation the size of the
effect is small, around 0.2. However, in the second
evaluation, the size of the effect grows to 0.5 approximately
in Cohen’s terms, emotional empathy measured by the
Empathic Concern subscale (EC) reaching a large effect size
(d = 0.84).
Therefore, the estimations of the effect sizes obtained
by Cohen’s d concerning empathy levels in boys and girls
are higher in the second evaluation if compared to those of
the first assessment.
Discussion
Based on the findings, we can conclude that there are
statistically significant differences between same age, male
and female adolescents as far as their ability to feel or
experience the emotions of others are concerned (emotional
empathy) and in their cognitive capacity to understand the
others’ emotions (cognitive empathy). Furthermore, sex
differences in empathy increased considerably between the
first and the second assessment period. Same age girls are
therefore more empathetic than boys and sex differences
are greater (larger effect size) as they move on to the
following developmental stage.
The two developmental moments chosen for the present
study are the key to understanding sex differences in
empathy. Turning 14 years of age entailed greater differences
between boys and girls, as shown by the results. The changes
in sex differences between boys and girls were identified
in both Bryant’s IECA –which just evaluates the emotional
component of empathy- and Davis’s IRI, where empathy is
measured from a multidimensional perspective including
both cognitive and emotional aspects of the empathic
response. Understanding those changes and the sex
differences is fundamental to developing programmes that
focus on empathy development.
Although sex differences were found in both the Bryant
and Davis measures, the effect sizes were larger for
emotional empathy than for cognitive empathy. Furthermore,
there was a greater effect size in the IECA instrument than
in the Empathic Concern subscale of the IRI. This result
WOMEN’S EMPATHIC DISPOSITION 81
Table 4
Effect sizes (d) and Confidence Interval (95%) in boys and girls in evaluations 1 and 2
Instrument Evaluation 1 Evaluation 2
Effect size Confidence interval Effect size Confidence interval
IECA d= 1,161 0.972-1.350 d= 1,552 1.352-1.752
(0.096) p=0.000 (0.102) p=0.000
PT d= 0.278 0.102-0.454 d= 0,493 0.315-0.671
(0.089) p=0.002 (0.090) p=0.000
FS d= 0.207 0.032-0.383 d= 0.586 0.407-0.765
(0.089) p=0.020 (0.091) p=0.000
EC d= 0.219 0.044-0.395 d= 0.840 0.657-1.023
(0.089) p=0.014 (0.093) p=0.000
PD d= 0.176 0.001-0.352 d= 0.628 0.449-0.808
(0.089) p=0.048 (0.091) p=0.000
* Standard error of the effect size in brackets
* Effect Size (Cohen’ d) = MeanWomen – MeanMen /spooled ; Pooled Standard Deviation (spooled) = sqrt(((nwomen-1)*SD2women +
(nmen–1)*SD2men)/(nwomen+nmen–2))
reveals greater sensitivity in IECA for the evaluation of
emotions related to the need of others for the studied age
range. Thus, the findings suggest that empathy studies
should be conducted in the early years of adolescence when
the goals are to analyse changes in the emotional aspects
of empathy.
Within each assessment period, girls scored higher than
boys in their ability to stand in “the other person’s shoes”
and also in the feelings towards a person in trouble or in
need. Therefore, sex differences are not just found in the
emotional realm of empathy but also in the capacity of
understanding the other person’s state and situation. These
findings are in line with those obtained by the instrument’s
author (Davis, 1983) and by other experts who have also
used the IRI for empathy evaluation from a multidimensional
perspective (Carlo et al., 2003; Carlo et al., 1996; Carlo et
al., 1999; Eisenberg et al., 2001; Mestre et al, 2004; Mestre
et al., 2002).
The effect sizes obtained illustrate the largest effect size
being found when empathy was evaluated by Bryant´s IECA.
The effect size using Bryant measure is large at the two
evaluation moments. In constrast, all the subscales in Davis’s
IRI showed a larger effect size at the second evaluation
moment compared to the first evaluation moment, the effect
size ranging between medium and large. The Empathic
Concern factor had an especially large effect in the second
evaluation. From the perspective of the gender similarities
hypothesis, Hyde’s review (2005) of studies on moral
reasoning oriented towards care (the closest construct to
empathy studied by the author) estimated an effect size of
0.28 (small effect size). In our analysis, effect size values
remain at about 0.20 (except for IECA) in Moment 1 but
they were larger in Moment 2, indicating that there were
greater differences in empathy in later adolescence.
The implications of our empathy results are strongly in
line with the study of prosocial behaviour and antisocial
behaviour inhibition and bullying (Jolliffe & Farrington,
2004, 2006), which also reveals sex differences. Thus,
subjects with low empathy seem to have problems in relating
their antisocial behaviour with emotional reactions in others,
and men seem to be more likely to violently bully others
in comparison with women (Olweus, 1993). The analysis
of the links between these constructs will allow to re-
approach differences between emotional and cognitive
empathy, given the results that associate negative
relationships between emotional empathy and bullying
(Endresen & Olweus, 2002) and between bullying and
cognitive empathy (Sutton, Smith, & Swettenham, 1999).
In summary, empathic disposition, which is considered to
be the main driver of prosocial behaviour, is developed in
female adolescents to a greater extent than in male
adolescents. This result should be taken into account in the
design of educational programmes aimed at improving
prosocial disposition and positive social interaction, and at
inhibiting aggression. Now that violent behaviours have
became more frequent in different settings, empathy
development, in its cognitive (perspective taking) and
emotional (concern for the other) aspects, can play an
inhibiting role and become a protective factor within the
family and in school. Research must further find statistically
significant interaction effects that can help us identify the
variables that moderate prosocial and aggressive behaviours,
the form they take on in male and female individuals, and
the effects that the development of a higher empathy level
has on both males and females.
References
Broidy, L., Cauffman, E., Espelage, D. L., Mazerolle, P., &
Piquero, A. (2003). Sex differences in empathy and its
relation to juvenile offending. Violence and Victims, 18(5),
503-516
Bryant, B. K. (1982). An index of empathy for children and
adolescents. Child Development, 53, 413-425.
Calvo, A. J., González, R., & Martorell, M. C. (2001). Variables
relacionadas con la conducta prosocial en la infancia y la
adolescencia: personalidad, autoconcepto y género. Infancia y
Aprendizaje, 93, 95-111.
Carlo, G., Hausmann, A., Christiansen, S., & Randall, B. A. (2003).
Sociocognitive and behavioural correlates of a measure of
prosocial tendencies for adolescents. Journal of Early
Adolescence, 23(1), 107-134
Carlo, G., Koller, S. H., Eisenberg, N., Silva, M. S., & Frohlich,
C. B. (1996). A cross-national study on the relations among
prosocial moral reasoning, gender role orientations, and
prosocial behaviours. Developmental Psychology, 32(2), 231-
240
Carlo, G., Raffaelli, M., Laible, D. J., & Meyer, K. A. (1999). Why
are girls less physically aggressive than boys? Personality and
parenting mediators of physical aggression. Sex Roles, 40(9/10),
711-729
Cohen, J. (1988). Statistical power analysis for the behavioral
sciences (2nd ed). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum. Davis, M. H. (1980).
A multidimensional approach to individual differences in
empathy. JSAS Catalog of Selected Documents in Psychology,
10, 85
Davis, M. H. (1983). Measuring individual differences in empathy:
Evidence for a multidimensional approach. Journal of
Personality and Social Psychology, 44(1), 113-126
Eagly, A. H. (1995). The science and politics of comparing women
and men. American Psychologist, 10(3), 145-158
Eisenberg, N. (2000). Emotion, regulation, and moral development.
Annual Review of Psychology, 51, 665-697
Eisenberg, N., & Lennon, R. (1983). Sex differences in empathy
and related capacities. Psychological Bulletin, 94(1), 100-131
Eisenberg, N., Zhou, Q., & Koller, S. (2001). Brazilian adolescents’
prosocial moral judgment and behavior: relations to sympathy,
perspective taking, gender-role orientation, and demographic
characteristics. Child Development, 72(2), 518-534
MESTRE, SAMPER, FRÍAS, AND TUR
82
Endresen, I. M., & Olweus, D. (2002). Self-reported empathy in
Norwegian adolescents: sex differences, age trends and
relationships to bullying. In D. Stipek & A. Bohart (Eds.),
Constructive and destructive behaviour: Implications for family,
school and society (pp. 147-165). Washington, DC: American
Psychological Association.
Hoffman, M. L. (1977). Sex differences in empathy and related
behaviors. Psychological Bulletin, 54,712-722
Hyde, J. S. (2005). The gender similarities hypothesis. American
Psychologist, 60(6), 581-592.
Jolliffe, D., & Farrington, D. P. (2004). Empathy and offending:
a systematic review and meta-analysis. Aggressive and Violent
Behaviour, 9, 441-476.
Jolliffe, D., & Farrington, D. P. (2006). Examining the relationship
between low empathy and bullying. Aggressive Behaviour, 32,
540-550.
Keung Ma, H. (2005). The relation of gender-role classifications
to the prosocial and antisocial behaviour of Chinese adolescents.
The Journal of Genetic Psychology, 166(2), 189-201.
Maccoby, E. E. (1990). Gender and relationships: A developmental
account. American Psychologist, 45(4), 513-520).
Maccoby, E. E., & Jacklin, C. N. (1974). The psychology of sex
differences. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.
McMahon, S. D., Wernsman,, J., & Parnes, A. L. (2006).
Understanding prosocial behaviour: The impact of empathy
and gender among African American adolescents. Journal of
Adolescent Health, 39(1), 135-137
Mestre, V., Frías, M. D., & Samper, P. (2004). La medida de la
empatía: Análisis del Interpersonal Reactivity Index.
Psicothema, 16(2), 255-260.
Mestre, V., Pérez-Delgado, E., Frías, M. D., & Samper, P. (1999).
Instrumentos de evaluación de la empatía. In E. Pérez-Delgado
& V. Mestre (Eds.), Psicología moral y crecimiento personal
(pp.181-190). Barcelona: Ariel.
Mestre, V., Samper, P., & Frías, M. D. (2002). Procesos cognitivos
y emocionales predictores de la conducta prosocial y agresiva:
La empatía como factor modulador. Psicothema, 14, (2), 227-
232
Mestre, V., Samper, P., & Frías, M. D. (2004). Personalidad y
contexto familiar como factores predoctores de la disposición
prosocial y antisocial de los adolescentes. Revista
Latinoamericana de Psicología, 36, 445-457
Mestre, V., Samper, P., Tur, A., Cortés, M. T., & Nácher, M. J.
(2006). Conducta prosocial y procesos psicológicos implicados:
Un estudio longitudinal en la adolescencia. Revista Mexicana
de Psicología, 23(2), 203-215.
Mestre, V., Samper, P., Tur, A., Díez, I., & Nácher, M. J. (2001-
2004). Estilos de crianza y variables escolares relacionadas
con la conducta prosocial y la conducta agresiva: Un estudio
longitudinal. R&D&I project, ref. BSO2001-304, Ministerio
de Ciencia y Tecnología.
Olweus, D. (1993). Bullying at school. Oxford, England: Blackwell.
Pérez-Albéniz, A., de Paúl, J., Etxebarría, J., Montes, M. P., &
Torres, E. (2003). Adaptación del Interpersonal Reactivity Index
(IRI) al español. Psicothema, 15(2), 267-272.
Sobral, J., Romero, E., Luengo, A., & Marzoa, J. (2000).
Personalidad y conducta antisocial: Amplificadores individuales
de los efectos contextuales. Psicothema, 12(4), 661-670
Sutton, J., Smith P. K., & Swettenham, J. (1999). Social cognition
and bullying: Social inadequacy or skilled manipulation. British
Journal of Developmental Psychology, 17, 435-450.
Toussaint, L., & Webb, J. R. (2005). Gender differences in the
relationship between empathy and forgiveness. The Journal of
Social Psycholohy, 145(6), 673-685.
Received November 27, 2006
Revision received July 7, 2008
Accepted September 9, 2008
WOMEN’S EMPATHIC DISPOSITION 83
... In line with Olsson and Bernhard (2021) and Dewi Sat Tanti et al. (2021), female entrepreneurship is crucial in today's society. The way in which women carry out the leadership and management of the company achieves greater cooperation, creativity (Bhat and Sisodia, 2016) and empathy (Mestre et al., 2009). All this improves the well-being of their employees and leads to greater productivity in their projects. ...
Article
Purpose The management of employee happiness and well-being has been gaining interest in academic research in recent years; however, few studies have focussed on the entrepreneur's perspective. The aim of this paper is to analyse the state of research on women-led businesses, well-being and happiness management. Design/methodology/approach A bibliometric study has been carried out since 1996, the first year in which publications in this field were detected. In total, 128 papers are identified in the most reliable database, Web of Science Core Collection. A network mapping of authorship, citation and co-occurrence of keywords in scientific publications is shown. Findings The results of this study confirm that societal changes resulting from crises increase research interest in improving organisational environments and happiness. After the economic crises of 2013, there was a boost, and after the pandemic, there is again a boost in research. More than half of the publications and citations on female entrepreneurship and happiness management are post-pandemic. The study offers some research directions and emphasises the role of gender. Originality/value This article brings a new approach to the study of well-being in organisations, highlighting the relevance of the role female leadership plays in promoting happiness at work.
... We found female students scored higher on cognitive empathy, affective empathy, and sympathy than the male students (Table 3). This result is consistent with studies in Austin (the United States), southeast China, northeastern Italy, Valencia (Spain), Chicago (the United States), and the Netherlands, show female empathy's score higher than male due to the ability of female to stand in people's shoes (which means more empathy) and to feel for someone in trouble or need (i.e., Albiero et al. 2009;Davis 1983;Li et al. 2019;Mestre et al. 2009;Michalska et al. 2013;Vossen et al. 2015;Vossen and Valkenburg 2016). In addition, female can better recognize emotions, understand and share the feelings of other people, which is a component of cognitive empathy and sympathy (Di Tella et al. 2020). ...
Article
Full-text available
Social networking sites (SNSs) have increased in number and popularity for more than a decade especially for adolescents. Previous studies conducted in western countries have stated that using SNSs could exert positive and negative effects on various aspects of psychosocial development, one of which is empathy. The relationship between SNSs use and empathy has remained unclear, especially in Indonesia. Therefore, the present study aims to determine the relationship between SNSs and empathy on adolescents in Indonesia. This study recruited 1,638 students from junior and senior high school with ages ranging from 12 to 19 years randomly across several provinces in Indonesia. Data collection was carried out by administering online questionnaires to participants consists of informed consent, demographic data, intensity of SNSs use during the past week with the Social Networking Time Use Scale (SONTUS) method, and questions about empathy with the Adolescent Measure of Empathy and Sympathy (AMES) method. Our result showed that higher frequency of using SNSs significantly positive correlated with cognitive empathy, affective empathy, and sympathy among adolescents in Indonesia, which is similar to previous studies, so this may be a general pattern in adolescence. The connections made by SNSs is believed to increase feelings of humanity (sympathy) and also empathy to other humans.
... This has been supported in previous studies that find women more empathetic than men as a result of contextual factors and traditional gender roles, but further study regarding differences in COVID-19 related practices between sex is necessary. 7,8 Our study also identified feeling stressed or tense was significantly associated with not having enough prescription medications at home to last 7 days. Further, those with health risk factors were significantly more likely than their counterparts to feel people close to them should wash their hands and that they were not in control of contracting the virus. ...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Preventing the spread of COVID-19 comes with many challenges. Considering the sociobehavioral effects of social distancing in rural communities specifically is incredibly important. No previous studies have been published about adherence to COVID-19 preventative measures and viewpoints on vaccination/other prevention measures in the rural Appalachian region of Ohio specifically. This present study will describe the results of a survey regarding perceptions of COVID-19 in rural communities.Methods: A 20-question cross-sectional survey was administered over a 6-week period from February to April 2021. Survey distribution was completed via flyers with QR codes hung at 4 medical offices in Columbiana and Tuscarawas counties. The survey was adapted from the standardized FluTEST survey. Descriptive statistics and bivariate analyses were used for comparison.Results: We had 23 respondents after removing incomplete/nonconsenting responses. Our data showed that contracting COVID-19 was associated with vaccine distrust. Females and those with health risk factors were found to be more cautious when compared to males and those without risk factors, respectively. Respondents under age 65 years were more likely to trust government health agencies. Those with emotional distress were more likely to take precautions in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic.Conclusion: To prevent widening health inequalities in the particularly vulnerable population of Appalachia, further study with larger sample size should be conducted. This information can be used by health care providers to tailor patient education regarding COVID-19 vaccine administration, treatment, and prevention measures.
... However, the relationships make sense in the context. Females were more anxious than males when thinking about student problems such as low English proficiency: i.e. they showed more empathy, which is consistent with general psychological studies such as Mestre et al. (2009). Also they were more anxious than males when considering matters in the hands of authority figures, such as poor communication with the head of department and being expected to Greater anxiety increase due to COVID was reported by those who were more anxious about student problems and about teaching matters that were more in the hands of the authorities. ...
Article
Full-text available
Introduction While student anxiety, and factors affecting it, have been quite widely studied, this is less true of teacher anxiety, especially at tertiary level. Furthermore, inventories for the measurement of teacher anxiety seem more disparate and less standardized than those for student anxiety. These considerations prompted the present study which aimed to reveal just how anxious tertiary level teachers really are, and what factors, both demographic and situational, are associated with their anxiety, in a relatively neglected non-Western context. Method A comprehensive questionnaire, was employed, combining items from a number of rather different previous teacher anxiety questionnaires, and applied to 88 university teachers at a Saudi university post COVID. Results Although anxiety was judged to have increased due to COVID, it still remained below the midpoint of the scale in absolute terms. While age and level of academic qualification were negatively related to overall teaching anxiety, experience, training, gender, and reported general trait anxiety were not. Notably features of the students (e.g., low ability or home difficulties) and of the administration (e.g., imposing high workload and unsuitable class sizes) generated relatively stronger anxiety compared with features in the hands of the teachers themselves (e.g., speaking in front of a class or answering student questions). Discussion The results suggest teachers’ emotional resilience after COVID, and chime with other published work in indicating a level of anxiety slightly below the scale midpoint as being the norm, and altruistic worry about students as a major cause of teacher anxiety.
... On the other hand, descriptive statistical results showed that females' scores for altruistic behavior were significantly higher than males' . Both Eastern and Western cultures believe that females are more sensitive to the emotions of others and have stronger empathy (María et al., 2009;Wang et al., 2020). According to the Empathy-Altruism Hypothesis, this trait benefits females in discovering more needs for help and showing more altruistic behavior (Batson, 1987;Luo et al., 2013). ...
Article
Full-text available
Introduction The current study aimed to explore the relationship between family function and adolescent altruistic behavior, as well as the mediating effects of self-affirmation and psychological resilience in this relationship. Methods A survey was conducted on 972 high school students in Guangdong Province using the Family APGAR, GHQSense of Adequacy, Chinese version of Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale, and Altruistic Behavior Scale. Results Results found that the score of psychological resilience of males was significantly higher than that of females, but the score of altruistic behavior was significantly lower than that of females. Family function had a positive predictive effect on altruistic behavior. Psychological resilience played a mediating role between family function and altruistic behavior. Self-affirmation and psychological resilience played chain mediating roles between family function and altruistic behavior. Discussion This study indicated that family care is crucial for the development of adolescent altruistic behavior, and that it can promote the development of altruistic behavior through the enhancement of self-affirmation and psychological resilience.
... Interestingly, of all the items available in the survey, the biggest difference in terms of mean was with the item 'to meet new people and make new friends' (3.88 for men vs. 3.74 for women). This is an atypical result because establishing new interpersonal relationships is indicated as part of women's collectivist and social orientation, as has been previously shown in studies by Mestre and colleagues [49] or Trivedi and Teichert [50]. Women are more likely to be able to take the perspective of another person and are more empathetic, sensitive, understanding, and willing to help, which may be a result of being more socialized to demonstrate such qualities. ...
Article
Full-text available
Involvement in sports volunteering is not only a way to improve mental health by increasing a sense of appreciation or respect, but it also allows participants to take on an individual challenge, meet new people, or gain specific knowledge. The aim of this study was to analyze selected motivations of students from the University of Physical Education in Krakow to get involved in sports volunteering during the 2023 European Games organized in their city and verifying them in terms of gender, age, previous volunteering experience, and pursuing a career. A total of 535 students took part in the survey, of whom 52.71% (282) were female, and 47.29% (253) were male. Selected motivation statements were indicated by respondents through a 5-point Likert scale. The results of the completed study confirmed that pursuing a professional career alongside studies and previous experience in sports volunteering had an impact on undertaking sports volunteering (F = 11.754; r = 0.674; p = 0.003 and F = 10.241; r = 0.611; p = 0.002). The obtained research results may be important for sports psychologists and organizers of sports events in the context of recruiting volunteers or improving the process of managing sports volunteering.
... The IRI is a well-validated and often-used instrument in empathy research. Cronbach's alpha for each subscale was low (PT: α = 0.338, F: α = 0.292, EC: α = 0.115, PD: α = 0.378), but similar to other studies using the IRI in adolescent samples [37]. The IRI represents a trait-like disposition that is stable over time [16,38]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Bullying often results in negative coping in victims, including an increased consumption of alcohol. Recently, however, an increase in alcohol use has also been reported among perpetrators of bullying. The factors triggering this pattern are still unclear. We investigated the role of empathy in the interaction between bullying and alcohol use in an adolescent sample (IMAGEN) at age 13.97(+/-0.53) years (baseline (BL), N = 2165, 50.9% female) and age 16.51 (+/-0.61) years (follow-up 1 (FU1), N = 1185, 54.9% female). General empathic distress served as a significant moderator of alcohol use in perpetrators (F9, 493 = 17.978, p < 0.01), which was specific for males and FU1. Male perpetrators, who are generally less sensitive to distress, might thus be more vulnerable to alcohol abuse.
Chapter
This chapter explores the relationship between social entrepreneurship and women’s empowerment. The extant literature views social entrepreneurship as a solution to poverty and gender inequalities and discusses how social enterprises empower women by developing their skills and capabilities in emerging economies. Notwithstanding the important contribution, the theoretical foundations of these studies largely remain Western-centric and are limited in providing novel insights on the motivation, function, and impact of entrepreneurial activities. We extend this research by exploring the work of a social organization in India, the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA), and by delineating the Gandhian principles that guide its mission, organizational structure, and implementation process. We show how the theoretical underpinning of SEWA in Gandhian philosophy of nonviolence and dignity of labor has enabled it to design holistic programs that focus on “Women, Work and Peace.” We elaborate on the implications of these principles for building equitable, resilient communities during a crisis such as covid-19.KeywordsSocial intermediationWomen entrepreneurshipResilienceSEWAWomen empowermentConstructive work
Article
Manuscript type: Research paper Research aims: The purpose of the study is to investigate the relationship between green consumption values (GCV) and consumer purchase intentions on peer-to-peer (P2P) platforms using age as moderating variable, as well as to fill the gaps in research using the theory of consumption values to support sustainable resale behaviour (SRB). Design/Methodology/Approach: To solve the research questions, the researchers used a convenience sampling technique to gather 491 responses from a cross-sectional survey. The researchers adopted structural equation modelling (SEM) to test the suggested framework. Research findings: The result show that entertainment, procreative, communal benefit, and activist values significantly and positively impact consumers’ GCV. However, economic and applied values have a negative effect on GCV. GCV intercedes the link between specific consumption values and SRB, and age moderates the link between context-specific consumption values and consumers’ GCV. Theoretical contribution/Originality: The researchers introduce sustainable consumer behaviour that has not seen a lot of attention in prior research, and GCV, which encourages pro-environmental consumption. The researchers also introduce the age factor to P2P platforms. Practitioner/Policy implications: The study identifies other values apart from purchase value and resale value, and offers the opportunity to segment both buyers and resellers. Research limitation/Implication: The research only focuses on a single dimension of consumer ethical values, which are GCV related to SRB.
Chapter
Prosociality is a multifaceted concept referring to the many ways in which individuals care about and benefit others. Human prosociality is foundational to social harmony, happiness, and peace; it is therefore essential to understand its underpinnings, development, and cultivation. This handbook provides a state-of-the-art, in-depth account of scientific, theoretical, and practical knowledge regarding prosociality and its development. Its thirty chapters, written by international researchers in the field, elucidate key issues, including: the development of prosociality across infancy, childhood, adolescence, and beyond; the biological, cognitive, emotional, and motivational mechanisms that underlie and influence prosociality; how different socialization agents and social contexts can affect children's prosociality; and intervention approaches aimed at cultivating prosociality in children and adolescents. This knowledge can benefit researchers, students, practitioners, and policy makers seeking to nurture socially responsible, caring youth.
Article
Full-text available
The present longitudinal study examined psychological processes involved in prosocial behavior. A sample of 499 Spanish adolescents were evaluated (12-14 years old; 240 boys and 259 girls) for 3 consecutive years with 6 instruments: Prosocial Reasoning Objective Measure (PROM), Physical and Verbal Aggression Scale (AFV), Emotional Instability Scale (IE), Prosocial Behavior Scale (CP), Index of Empathy for Children and Adolescents (iECA), and Interpersonal Reactivity Index (iRl). Discriminants analyses of prosocial disposition indicated a strong predictor power of emotional processes with respect to cognitive components; empathy provided the highest correlation with the discriminant function during adolescence.
Article
Full-text available
The present longitudinal study examined psycho-logical processes involved in prosocial behavior. A sample of499 Spanish adolescents were evaluated (12-14 years old; 240boys and 259 girls) for 3 consecutive years with 6 instruments:Prosocial Reasoning Objective Measure (PROM), Physical andVerbal Aggression Scale (AFV), Emotional Instability Scale (IE),Prosocial Behavior Scale (CP), Index of Empathy for Chil-dren and Adolescents (IECA), and Interpersonal ReactivityIndex (IRI). Discriminants analyses of prosocial dispositionindicated a strong predictor power of emotional processes withrespect to cognitive components; empathy provided the high-est correlation with the discriminant function during adoles-cence.
Article
To facilitate a multidimensional approach to empathy the Interpersonal Reactivity Index (IRI) includes 4 subscales: Perspective-Taking (PT) Fantasy (FS) Empathic Concern (EC) and Personal Distress (PD). The aim of the present study was to establish the convergent and discriminant validity of these 4 subscales. Hypothesized relationships among the IRI subscales between the subscales and measures of other psychological constructs (social functioning self-esteem emotionality and sensitivity to others) and between the subscales and extant empathy measures were examined. Study subjects included 677 male and 667 female students enrolled in undergraduate psychology classes at the University of Texas. The IRI scales not only exhibited the predicted relationships among themselves but also were related in the expected manner to other measures. Higher PT scores were consistently associated with better social functioning and higher self-esteem; in contrast Fantasy scores were unrelated to these 2 characteristics. High EC scores were positively associated with shyness and anxiety but negatively linked to egotism. The most substantial relationships in the study involved the PD scale. PD scores were strongly linked with low self-esteem and poor interpersonal functioning as well as a constellation of vulnerability uncertainty and fearfulness. These findings support a multidimensional approach to empathy by providing evidence that the 4 qualities tapped by the IRI are indeed separate constructs each related in specific ways to other psychological measures.
Article
The purpose of this paper is to analyse personality and family variables related to adolescent aggressiveness and prosocial behaviour; emphasis has been placed on emotional processes linked to a lack of control or emotional regulation and child-rearing styles perceived by adolescents in their parents. An empirical analysis was carried out including 1.285 randomly selected adolescents (aged 13 to 18; 698 males and 597 females). Discriminating analyses were conducted. Results showed that emotional processes reach higher correlation with aggressive behaviour, emotional instability and proneness to anger being the main predicting factors of aggressiveness, while empathy appears like the main predictor of prosocial behaviour. The parents' child-rearing styles have a secondary position in drawing the differential profile between high and low prosocial proneness, behind personal variables and are moved by emotional processes in prediction of aggressive behaviour.
Article
The principal aim of this study is to assess the effects of interactions between predictors in determining their impact on self-reported delinquency in Spanish school adolescents. Data were gathered on 3.186 adolescents for several contextual and personal characteristics. Initially, analyses were performed to establish the influence of each factor; subsequently, hierarchical regression analysis was used to determine the degree to which personal variables modulate the influence of family, school, peer groups, and socioeconomic factors. Results are interpreted with emphasis on the need for an interactive non additive perspective. Finally, some metatheoretical considerations are discussed.
Article
This study presents the development and validation of an index of empathy for use with children and adolescents. 56 first graders, 115 fourth graders, and 87 seventh graders were studied. Item means, item-total correlations, test-retest reliabilities, correlations testing the relationship of empathy to aggressiveness and acceptance of individual differences, correlations testing the relationship of this adapted index of empathy to other existing measures of empathy as well as to social desirability response set and reading achievement formed the basis of internal, discriminant, convergent, and general construct validation. The measure demonstrated satisfactory reliability and preliminary construct validity. The study of a subset of items controlling for same-sex versus cross-sex stimulus figures provided the basis for investigating developmental aspects of empathic arousal toward peers of different sexes. Overall, the availability of comparable forms of a measure of empathy for use with children, adolescents, and adults will be useful for exploring the developmental antecedents and conditions surrounding the expression of emotional empathy.
Article
El objetivo de este trabajo ha sido doble. En primer lugar, se estudia la relación entre la conducta prosocialantisocial y variables de personalidad (empatía, impulsividad, afán de aventura y autoconcepto). En segundo lugar se analiza la influencia del género en la conducta prosocial y antisocial. Para ello se ha utilizado una muestra de 421 niños y adolescentes de ambos sexos con edades comprendidas entre los 10 y los 18 años. Los resultados ponen de manifiesto una relación positiva entre conducta prosocial y Empatía, Afán de Aventura, Autoconcepto Positivo y Autoconcepto/Autoestima. Mientras que se observa una relación negativa entre conducta prosocial e Impulsividad y Autoconcepto Negativo. Por otro lado, la conducta antisocial presenta correlaciones similares a la conducta prosocial, pero en sentido inverso. En cuanto a las diferencias de género, las mujeres obtienen puntuaciones superiores en la mayoría de factores de conducta prosocial mientras que los varones presentan niveles superiores de conducta antisocial. The aim of this research was twofold. First, to study the relation between prosocial-antisocial behaviour and personality variables (impulsiveness, empathy, adventurous, and self-concept). Second, to study gender differences on prosocial-antisocial behaviour. A sample of 421 children and adolescents aged 10-18 years was selected. The results produced 1) a positive correlation between prosocial behaviour and Empathy, Adventurous, Positive Self-concept, and Self-concept/Self-esteem; and 2) a negative relation between prosocial behaviour and Impulsiveness and Negative Self-concept. Correlations for antisocial behaviour were in general the inverse of those obtained for prosocial behaviour. With respect to gender differences, females had higher scores than males in prosocial behaviour, and males had higher scores in antisocial behaviour.