Gender differences in empathic sadness towards persons of the same- versus other-sex during adolescence

S Stuijfzand, M De Wied , M Kempes, J Van der Graaff, S Branje , W.H.J. Meeus

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Abstract

Although gender differences in affective empathy are well established, evidence of gender differences in the development of affective empathy is inconsistent. Consideration of same-sex versus other-sex affective empathy may assist in elucidating these inconsistencies. Gender differences were investigated in the experience of empathic sadness towards same- versus other-sex targets. The relationships were studied cross-sectionally (N = 730) and longitudinally (N = 318) with Dutch adolescents using the empathic sadness scale of the Index of Empathy for Children and Adolescents (IECA; Bryant 1982). In both studies, female adolescents reported more empathic sadness than did male adolescents. Female targets also received more affective empathy than did male targets, and, more importantly, gender differences were observed in same-sex versus other-sex affective empathy. Specifically, in both studies male adolescents reported less empathic sadness towards same-sex than towards other-sex targets. In contrast, female adolescents reported more empathic sadness towards same-sex than towards other-sex targets in the cross-sectional study, and equal levels of empathic sadness towards both types of targets in the longitudinal study. Findings highlight the importance of considering same-sex versus other-sex affective empathy. Gender differences in same-sex and other-sex affective empathy have implications for assisting adolescents in social conflict resolution and interventions for bullying and aggressive behaviour in adolescence using empathy training.
Keywords: Same-sex versus other-sex affective empathy, Gender differences, Adolescence Empathy development, Affective empathy
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)434–446
JournalSex Roles
Volume75
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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empathy
adolescence
gender-specific factors
human being
adolescent
female adolescent
social conflict
aggressive behavior
conflict resolution
cross-sectional study
longitudinal study
exclusion
Cross-Sectional Studies

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Stuijfzand, S., De Wied , M., Kempes, M., Van der Graaff, J., Branje , S., & Meeus, W. H. J. (2016). Gender differences in empathic sadness towards persons of the same- versus other-sex during adolescence. Sex Roles, 75(9), 434–446. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-016-0649-3
Stuijfzand, S ; De Wied , M ; Kempes, M ; Van der Graaff, J ; Branje , S ; Meeus, W.H.J. / Gender differences in empathic sadness towards persons of the same- versus other-sex during adolescence. In: Sex Roles. 2016 ; Vol. 75, No. 9. pp. 434–446.
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abstract = "Although gender differences in affective empathy are well established, evidence of gender differences in the development of affective empathy is inconsistent. Consideration of same-sex versus other-sex affective empathy may assist in elucidating these inconsistencies. Gender differences were investigated in the experience of empathic sadness towards same- versus other-sex targets. The relationships were studied cross-sectionally (N = 730) and longitudinally (N = 318) with Dutch adolescents using the empathic sadness scale of the Index of Empathy for Children and Adolescents (IECA; Bryant 1982). In both studies, female adolescents reported more empathic sadness than did male adolescents. Female targets also received more affective empathy than did male targets, and, more importantly, gender differences were observed in same-sex versus other-sex affective empathy. Specifically, in both studies male adolescents reported less empathic sadness towards same-sex than towards other-sex targets. In contrast, female adolescents reported more empathic sadness towards same-sex than towards other-sex targets in the cross-sectional study, and equal levels of empathic sadness towards both types of targets in the longitudinal study. Findings highlight the importance of considering same-sex versus other-sex affective empathy. Gender differences in same-sex and other-sex affective empathy have implications for assisting adolescents in social conflict resolution and interventions for bullying and aggressive behaviour in adolescence using empathy training.Keywords: Same-sex versus other-sex affective empathy, Gender differences, Adolescence Empathy development, Affective empathy",
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Stuijfzand, S, De Wied , M, Kempes, M, Van der Graaff, J, Branje , S & Meeus, WHJ 2016, 'Gender differences in empathic sadness towards persons of the same- versus other-sex during adolescence', Sex Roles, vol. 75, no. 9, pp. 434–446. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-016-0649-3

Gender differences in empathic sadness towards persons of the same- versus other-sex during adolescence. / Stuijfzand, S; De Wied , M; Kempes, M; Van der Graaff, J; Branje , S; Meeus, W.H.J.

In: Sex Roles, Vol. 75, No. 9, 2016, p. 434–446.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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AU - Meeus, W.H.J.

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AB - Although gender differences in affective empathy are well established, evidence of gender differences in the development of affective empathy is inconsistent. Consideration of same-sex versus other-sex affective empathy may assist in elucidating these inconsistencies. Gender differences were investigated in the experience of empathic sadness towards same- versus other-sex targets. The relationships were studied cross-sectionally (N = 730) and longitudinally (N = 318) with Dutch adolescents using the empathic sadness scale of the Index of Empathy for Children and Adolescents (IECA; Bryant 1982). In both studies, female adolescents reported more empathic sadness than did male adolescents. Female targets also received more affective empathy than did male targets, and, more importantly, gender differences were observed in same-sex versus other-sex affective empathy. Specifically, in both studies male adolescents reported less empathic sadness towards same-sex than towards other-sex targets. In contrast, female adolescents reported more empathic sadness towards same-sex than towards other-sex targets in the cross-sectional study, and equal levels of empathic sadness towards both types of targets in the longitudinal study. Findings highlight the importance of considering same-sex versus other-sex affective empathy. Gender differences in same-sex and other-sex affective empathy have implications for assisting adolescents in social conflict resolution and interventions for bullying and aggressive behaviour in adolescence using empathy training.Keywords: Same-sex versus other-sex affective empathy, Gender differences, Adolescence Empathy development, Affective empathy

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