Cross-cultural perspectives on the role of empathy during covid-19’s first wave

Marina L. Butovskaya, Valentina N. Burkova, Ashley K. Randall, Silvia Donato, Julija N. Fedenok, Lauren Hocker, Kai M. Kline, Khodabakhsh Ahmadi, Ahmad M. Alghraibeh, Fathil Bakir Mutsher Allami, Fadime Suata Alpaslan, Mohammad Ahmad Abdelaziz Al-Zu’Bi, Derya Fatma Biçer, Hakan Cetinkaya, Oana Alexandra David, Seda Dural, Paige Erickson, Alexey M. Ermakov, Berna Ertugrul, Emmanuel Abiodun FayankinnuMaryanne L. Fisher, Ivana Hromatko, Elena Kasparova, Alexander Kavina, Hareesol Khun-Inkeeree, Fırat Koç, Vladimir Kolodkin, Melanie Maceacheron, Irma Rachmawati Maruf, Norbert Meskó, Ruzan Mkrtchyan, Poppy Setiawati Nurisnaeny, Oluyinka Ojedokun, Damilola Adebayo, Mohd S.B. Omar-Fauzee, Barıs Özener, Edna Lúcia Tinoco Ponciano, Igor V. Popov, Muhammad Rizwan, Agnieszka Sabiniewicz, Victoriya I. Spodina, Stanislava Stoyanova, Nachiketa Tripathi, Satwik Upadhyay, Carol Weisfeld, Mohd Faiz Mohd Yaakob, Mat Rahimi Yusof, Raushaniia I. Zinurova

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The COVID-19 pandemic has spread throughout the world, and concerns about psychological, social, and economic consequences are growing rapidly. Individuals’ empathy-based reactions towards others may be an important resilience factor in the face of COVID-19. Self-report data from 15,375 participants across 23 countries were collected from May to August 2020 during the early phases of the COVID-19 pandemic. In particular, this study examined different facets of empathy—Perspective-Taking, Empathic Concern, and Personal Distress, and their association with cross-cultural ratings on Individualism, Power Distance, The Human Development Index, Social Support Ranking, and the Infectious Disease Vulnerability Index, as well as the currently confirmed number of cases of COVID-19 at the time of data collection. The highest ratings on Perspective-Taking were obtained for USA, Brazil, Italy, Croatia, and Armenia (from maximum to minimum); on Empathetic Concern, for the USA, Brazil, Hungary, Italy, and Indonesia; and on Personal Distress, from Brazil, Turkey, Italy, Armenia, Indonesia. Results also present associations between demographic factors and empathy across countries. Limitations and future directions are presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7431
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number13
StatePublished - Jul 1 2021


  • COVID-19
  • Cross-cultural
  • Empathy
  • Human Development Index
  • Individualism
  • Infectious Disease Vulnerability Index
  • Interpersonal Reactivity Index
  • Power Distance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


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