Children's vicarious emotional responses and prosocial behavior were assessed, and the relations of these indexes to their mothers' sympathetic dispositions were examined. Mothers who were more sympathetic and better perspective takers had girls who reported feeling more sympathy and negative affect and less happiness after exposure to needy others. Mothers who reported more distress had girls who reported less negative affect and more happiness after exposure. Fewer relations between mothers' sympathy and vicarious emotional responsiveness were found for boys; however, there were more relations between boys' emotional responses and their helpfulness; boys who expressed more negative affect tended to be more helpful. These findings support the notion that the correlates of vicarious emotional responsiveness and prosocial tendencies are similar.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Life-span and Life-course Studies