Relations of school children's comforting behavior to empathy-related reactions and shyness

Nancy Eisenberg, Richard A. Fabes, Mariss Karbon, Bridget C. Murphy, Gustavo Carlo, Marek Wosinski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to examine empathy-related and personal correlates of children's comforting reactions. Quantity and quality of third to sixth graders' comforting of a crying infant were assessed and their relations with situational and dispositional empathy-related responding, shyness, and vagal tone were examined. Quantity and quality of boys' comforting were related to reports of sympathetic/ empathic responding to an empathy-inducing film, whereas quantity of girls' comforting was associated with low facial and heart rate markers of vicarious distress in another context. Quality of comforting was associated with markers of girls' vicarious distress. Comforting was negatively related to younger children's shyness and marginally, positive correlated with girls' vagal tone. Suppression of vagal tone was associated with quantity of comforting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)330-351
Number of pages22
JournalSocial Development
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1996


  • Empathy
  • Prosocial behaviour
  • Shyness
  • Sympathy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


Dive into the research topics of 'Relations of school children's comforting behavior to empathy-related reactions and shyness'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this