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 journalArticlepeer-review

307 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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