Children's anger, emotional expressiveness, and empathy: Relations with parents' empathy, emotional expressiveness, and parenting practices

Janet Strayer, William Roberts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

109 Scopus citations

Abstract

In Roberts and Strayer (1996) we described how emotional factors were strongly related to children's empathy, which in turn strongly predicted prosocial behavior. This paper focuses on how these child emotional factors, assessed across methods and sources, related to parental factors (empathy, emotional expressiveness, encouragement of children's emotional expressiveness, warmth and control) for a subset of 50 two-parent families from our earlier sample. Parents reported on their emotional characteristics and parenting; children (5 to 13 years old; 42% girls) also described parenting practices. Children's age and parenting factors accounted for an average of 32% of the variance in child emotional factors, which, with role-taking, strongly predicted children's empathy. In contrast to earlier, less comprehensive studies, we found important paths between parents' and children's empathy, mediated by children's anger. These countervailing pathways largely neutralized each other, resulting in the low correlations usually seen when parents' and children's empathy are examined in isolation. Thus our findings are an important confirmation and extension of the theoretically expected link between parents' and children's empathy.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)229-254
Number of pages26
JournalSocial Development
Volume13
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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