The Relations of Children's Situational Empathy-related Emotions to Dispositional Prosocial Behaviour

Robin A. Holmgren, Nancy Eisenberg, Richard A. Fabes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


Although empathy-related responding has frequently been associated with prosocial behaviour directed towards the target of an individual's vicarious emotional responding, relations between dispositional prosocial behaviour and sympathy or personal distress have seldom been examined, particularly with a multimethod approach. Kindergarten to third-graders' empathy-related responses to a film were examined as predictors of dispositional prosocial behaviour as reported by teachers, parents, and peers. Teachers' ratings of dispositional behaviour were related to children's facial and skin conductance reactions to the film. Parents' and peers' ratings of dispositional prosocial behaviour were infrequently associated with children's empathy-related responding, although peer reports were positively related to heart rate acceleration for boys. Reasons for the differential patterns of relations for different reporters are considered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)169-193
Number of pages25
JournalInternational Journal of Behavioral Development
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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