Conference Contribution Details
Mandatory Fields
Brady, B., Silke, C., Boylan, C., Dolan, P
Identity, Community and Social Solidarity: British Sociological Association Annual Conference
Factors influencing the development of empathy and pro-social behaviour in adolescence: A theoretical model
Northumbria University
Oral Presentation
Optional Fields
There are concerns that western societies are becoming increasingly characterised by individualisation and declining levels of empathy and social solidarity. Some studies have found that there have been generational decreases in empathy, trust in others, civic orientation, social concern and responsibility values. These trends are widely seen as a cause for concern, given that values of empathy and social responsibility have been found to deter antisocial acts and enable civic and prosocial behaviours. Research indicates that the social and developmental experiences that occur during childhood and youth set the stage for social values and citizenship across the lifespan and there have been calls for a greater policy focus on the development of empathy and pro-social behaviour among children and youth. However, it is argued that in order to do so, it is essential firstly to understand the factors that influence the development of such social values and behaviours. While a large body of research indicates that a variety of contextual factors (e.g. parental values, peer norms, school culture, community connectedness etc.) and individual processes (e.g. gender, self-efficacy) may influence the expression of empathy and pro-social behaviour, there have been few efforts to integrate these findings. This paper addresses this gap by presenting a theoretical model of the factors contributing to the development of empathy and pro-social behaviour among youth based on a systematic review of the research literature. The implications of the model in terms of policy and practice are highlighted.
Irish Research Council
Publication Themes
Applied Social Sciences and Public Policy