Empathy skills in middle childhood: the role of child’s temperament, parenting practices, and mother’s empathy

Yavaşlar, Yeşim
The main aim of the current study is to investigate the role of children’s temperamental characteristics (inhibitory control and perceptual sensitivity), parenting practices (maternal warmth, inductive reasoning, and positive expressivity), and maternal empathy (affective, cognitive, and behavioral) on children’s affective, cognitive, and behavioral empathy skills. In addition, the moderator role of children’s perceptual sensitivity and gender is examined separately between parenting practices, maternal empathy, and children’s empathy skills. For this purpose, a total of 362 3rd and 4th graders and their mothers were recruited from 6 primary schools in Çankaya-Ankara. Children’s temperament, parenting behaviors, maternal empathy, and children’s empathy skills were assessed by different questionnaires. In the study, three sets of hierarchical regression analyses were performed for each individual outcome (affective empathy, cognitive empathy, and prosocial motivation). For six hierarchical regression analyses, temperament of perceptual sensitivity was entered into analyses as a moderator variable in order to observe the possible interaction effects of perceptual sensitivity with each parenting behaviors as well as each maternal empathy types separately. For the last three hierarchical regressions, child’s gender was entered into analyses as a moderator variable in between maternal empathy and child’s empathy skills. The results indicated that each parenting practices and maternal cognitive empathy directly associated with children’s empathy skills. The moderator role of child’s perceptual sensitivity and gender was also significant for children’s empathy skills. Findings of the study, contributions, limitations, and future suggestions were discussed. 


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Citation Formats
Y. Yavaşlar, “Empathy skills in middle childhood: the role of child’s temperament, parenting practices, and mother’s empathy,” M.S. - Master of Science, Middle East Technical University, 2016.