The relations of regulation and emotionality to children's situational empathy-related responding

Ivanna K. Gurthrie, Nancy Eisenberg, Richard A. Fabes, Bridget C. Murphy, Robin Holmgren, Pat Mazsk, Suh Karen

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Abstract

The relations of dispositional regulation (attentional control, ego control), ego resiliency, and emotionality (general emotional intensity and negative emotionality) to situational measures of sympathy and personal distress were examined. Situational sympathy and personal distress were assessed with facial, self-reported, and heart rate reactions to an empathy-inducing film. Teachers and parents completed measures of children's dispositional regulation and emotionality. In general, children who evidenced sympathy (e.g., facial sadness, mean heart rate decline, and self-reported sympathy) were rated higher in regulation and resiliency, although findings sometimes were obtained for only one sex. Children who evidenced personal distress (e.g., facial distress), as well as facial sadness, were rated relatively high in emotionality. Gaze aversion from the film was correlated with regulation and boys' resiliency, and was negatively related to negative emotionality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)87-108
Number of pages22
JournalMotivation and Emotion
Volume21
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1997

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology

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