Purpose: The paper explores altruism born of suffering (ABS), a theory that explains how the experience of suffering within one’s own life may result in the motivation to help others, even outgroup members. Design: Participants were 186 emerging adults (63% female, 37% male; 69% Protestant, 41% Catholic; Average age = 21.3, Standard Deviation = 2.57, years old) in Northern Ireland, a setting of protracted intergroup conflict. Participants were randomly assigned to an in/outgroup condition, read four types of adversity that occurred to same-sex victim(s), and indicated their empathetic response and how much they would like to help the victims. Findings: Moderated mediation analyses revealed that empathy for the victim partially mediated the impact of perceived harm on desire to help; moreover, recent negative life events strengthened the link between harm and empathy. The path between empathy and helping was stronger in the outgroup compared to the ingroup condition. Practical implications: These findings support ABS, highlighting empathy as a key factor underlying more constructive intergroup relations in a divided society. Originality: This paper extends previous research on ABS by focusing on a post-accord context. The value of the current analyses demonstrate the important role of fostering empathy to promote outgroup helping in settings of divisive group identities.
|Journal||Journal of Aggression, Conflict and Peace Research|
|Early online date||01 Sep 2017|
|Publication status||Early online date - 01 Sep 2017|
- helping behaviours
- prosocial behaviour
- Northern Ireland
- intergroup conflict