McConnell Library Scholars Repository

Investigating the Role of Age and Empathy in Preschoolers Likelihood to Help an Older Adult

Cox, Amory C. (2013) Investigating the Role of Age and Empathy in Preschoolers Likelihood to Help an Older Adult. [Dissertation] (Unpublished)

PDF - Submitted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution No Derivatives.

Download (498kB) | Preview


The United States is a society where generations are divided both socially and recreationally (Gilbert & Ricketts, 2008). Due to negative stereotyping of older adults, researchers have suggested activities that are pleasing to both adults and children should be administered to reduce negative stereotypes (Weinberger, 1979; Harper & Huie, 1987). Behaving prosocially and empathizing with others can help in promoting positive interactions between generations and is often viewed as being compassionate and caring (Eisenberg, 2003). Helping behaviors, a category of prosocial behaviors, are often measured in preschoolers to see if helping increases with age (Bar-Tal, Raviv, & Goldberg, 1982). Empathy has also been examined as a predictor of prosocial behaviors. The current study examined empathy as a predictor for engaging in prosocial behaviors in preschoolers using the Child Rating Questionnaire (Strayer & Roberts, 2004). Specifically, researchers examined whether preschoolers high or low in empathy were more likely to help an older or younger adult in an emotion or action based task using 4 helping tasks (Svetlova, Nichols, & Brownell, 2010). Results concluded age and empathy did not have a significant effect on helping behaviors. There was a significant effect for task, thus each task was significantly different from one another. There was also no main effect for helping an older or younger adult. It was also found that sociability was positively significantly correlated with empathy. Implications for intergenerational integration within preschool education and future research are discussed.

Item Type: Dissertation
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Depositing User: Amory Cox
Date Deposited: 04 Jun 2013 15:59
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2018 16:23

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item