The relations of children's dispositional empathy-related responding to their emotionality, regulation, and social functioning

Nancy Eisenberg, Richard Fabes, Bridget Murphy, Mariss Karbon, Melanie Smith, Pat Maszk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

295 Scopus citations

Abstract

The relations of kindergartners' to 2nd graders' dispositional sympathy to individual differences in emotionality, regulation, and social functioning were examined. Sympathy was assessed with teacher- and self-reports; contemporaneously and 2 years earlier, parents and teachers reported on children's emotionality, regulation, and social functioning. Social functioning also was assessed with peer evaluations and children's enacted puppet behavior, and negative arousability-personal distress was assessed with physiological responses. In general, sympathy was associated with relatively high levels of regulation, teacher-reported positive emotionality and general emotional intensity, and especially for boys, high social functioning and low levels of negative emotionality, including physiological reactivity to a distress stimulus. Vagal tone was positively related to boys' self-reported sympathy, whereas the pattern was reversed for girls.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)195-209
Number of pages15
JournalDevelopmental psychology
Volume32
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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