Children's empathy and role taking: Child and parental factors, and relations to prosocial behavior

Janet Strayer, William Roberts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


The present investigation addresses three issues: (1) the relations between children's emotional empathy and theoretically relevant factors such as role taking, imaginative skills, and ego resiliency; (2) the extent to which empathy and role taking are related to reports of children's prosocial behaviors at home and school; and (3) the relation of children's emotional empathy to parents' own empathy and parents' perceptions of child empathy. Results for 51 6-year-olds indicated that children's empathy and role taking were related, and that both were associated with imaginative thinking. Role taking was also associated with ego resiliency. Children's empathy was positively associated with reported prosocial behavior in the family, whereas role taking was associated with reported prosocial behavior at school. Although children's emotional empathy was associated with parental perceptions of the child as empathic, it was not related to parents' own empathy. Factors contributing to empathy and prosocial behaviors are discussed in light of possible application to home- and school-based programs. © 1989.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)227-239
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Applied Developmental Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 1989
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


Dive into the research topics of 'Children's empathy and role taking: Child and parental factors, and relations to prosocial behavior'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this