Empathy to action: Child and adolescent outgroup attitudes and prosocial behaviors in a setting of intergroup conflict

Laura K. Taylor, Dean O'Driscoll, Jocelyn Dautel, Shelley McKeown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

Abstract

The paper explored how to promote constructive intergroup relations among children and young people in a context of protracted conflict. Across two studies, the Empathy‐Attitudes‐Action model was examined in middle childhood and adolescence. More specifically, we tested the relations among dispositional empathy, outgroup attitudes, and prosocial behaviors for youth born after the peace agreement in Northern Ireland. In one correlational (Study 1: N = 132; 6‐ to 11‐years‐old: M = 8.42 years, SD = 1.23) and one longitudinal design (Study 2: N = 466; 14‐ to 15‐years‐old), bootstrapped mediation analyses revealed that empathy was associated with more positive attitudes toward the conflict‐related outgroup, which in turn, was related to higher outgroup prosocial behaviors, both self‐report and concrete actions. Given that outgroup prosocial acts in a setting of intergroup conflict may serve as the antecedents for peacebuilding among children and adolescents, this study has intervention implications.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSocial Development
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20 Oct 2019

Structured keywords

  • SoE Centre for Psychological Approaches for Studying Education

Keywords

  • empathy
  • prosocial behavior
  • intergroup processes
  • conflict resolution
  • children
  • adolescents

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