Empathy, defined as the ability to experience the world from the other’s point of view, is believed to play an important role in motivating acts to meet the needs of others, as in prosocial behavior (Batson, Eklund, Chermok, Hoyt, & Ortiz, 2007). The purpose of this study was to replicate and extend past work that highlights empathy’s role in prosocial behavior by examining the relative importance of specific components of empathy in relationship to prosocial helping behavior. The role of perspective-taking ability, experience of empathic concern responses, and self-report empathic inclinations were examined in a model predicting prosocial helping behavior. The hypothesis that these dimensions of empathy would be related to prosocial helping behavior was only partially supported as perspective-taking ability proved to be the only significant predictor. The better participants’ perspective-taking ability, the more likely they were to demonstrate prosocial behavior. Notably, this relationship between perspective-taking ability and prosocial helping behavior remained strong even after controlling for participants’ social desirability response biases, customary volunteer habits, gender, and beliefs about the legitimacy of the prosocial helping measure. The implications of these findings are discussed.
"What Dimensions of Empathy Predict Prosocial Helping Behavior in Emerging Adulthood? The Relationships Between Volunteering to Help and Perspective-Taking Ability, Experience of Empathic Concern, and Self-Report Empathic Inclinations,"
Journal of Interdisciplinary Graduate Research: Vol. 1, Article 1.
Available at: https://knowledge.e.southern.edu/jigr/vol1/iss1/1