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

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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
Number of pages38
JournalSOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
Early online date20 Oct 2019
DOIs
Publication statusEarly online date - 20 Oct 2019

Keywords

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

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