From empathy to action: Can enhancing host-society children’s empathy promote positive attitudes and prosocial behavior towards refugees?

Laura K. Taylor, Catherine Glen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Over half of refugees are school-aged children. In host communities, children’s attitudes and behaviors are important for integration of refugee children. This study examines the empathy-attitude-action model in middle childhood (N=94, 8 to 11 years old). In both the experimental and control conditions, children were introduced to a (fictional) refugee, and told he/she would be moving to their school. The experimental condition also listened to a storybook about the child’s refugee experience. Empathy, outgroup attitudes and prosocial behavior toward the incoming child, and refugees as a group, were measured. Although mediation was not supported, the storybook condition reported more empathy and helping intentions, and attitudes predicted helping intentions but not giving to refugees. Results highlight how host-society children can welcome refugees.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Community and Applied Psychology
Early online date03 Sep 2019
Publication statusEarly online date - 03 Sep 2019

Keywords

  • empathy
  • refugees
  • children
  • prosocial behavior
  • attitudes

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