Empathy is considered an important aspect of social interactions thus allowing social harmony and understanding however, little is known about what factors influence its development. This study examined how a child's gender, religiosity, and spirituality affect their level of empathy. A total of 79, nine- to 12-year-old students, from two rural school districts, completed questionnaires with parents providing additional information. Results indicate that the children's reported level of spirituality is not related to their reported level of empathy. Their particular religion was also not related to empathy. Additionally, Catholics and other religions were not significantly different from Protestants in terms of reported levels of spirituality. Gender was found to be significantly related to empathy, with females earning higher empathy scores than males. However, gender was not significantly related to spirituality. Although this study did not find factors related to the development of empathy, it is still important to continue research in order to determine what factors are involved. If we can learn what factors positively contribute to the development of empathy, we can support those factors in order to assist all children in becoming more empathic contributors to our society.
|Advisor:||Atlas, Jana G.|
|Commitee:||Greil, Arthur L., Young, Hannah L.|
|Department:||Division of Counseling and School Psychology|
|School Location:||United States -- New York|
|Source:||DAI-B 74/08(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Religion, Developmental psychology, Spirituality, Gender studies|
|Keywords:||Development, Empathy, Gender, Religion, Religiosity, Spirituality|
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