Interaction Effect of Empathy and Effortful Control on Preschoolers' Prosocial Behavior: Differences Between 4 and 5-Year-Olds
4, 5 1 , · 2 Objectives: To examine the interaction effect of empathy and effortful control on prosocial behavior among Korean preschoolers. Methods: The participants of this study were 167 (82 boys, 85 girls) 4 and 5-year-olds from preschools in Seoul Province. Prosocial behavior was evaluated based on teachers' reports. The level of empathy was measured by a task in which the children responded to the researcher's questions and effortful control was assessed by behavioral tasks administered
... asks administered by the researcher. The data were preliminarily analyzed by t -tests and Pearson's correlation analyses. The interaction effect of empathy and effortful control was analyzed with the SPSS 24.0 PROCESS MACRO. Results: First, the empathy and effortful control scores of the 5-year-olds were higher than those of the 4-year-olds, whereas there was no age difference in prosocial behavior. Second, in both 4 and 5 year-olds, empathy and effortful control were positively associated with prosocial behavior. Additionally, only for the 5-year-olds, girls demonstrated more prosocial behavior than boys. Third, for explaining the variance in prosocial behavior, there was a main effect of empathy for the 4-year-olds and a main effect of effortful control for the 5-year-olds. Finally, the interaction effect of empathy and effortful control on prosocial behavior was significant only for the 5-year-olds. Conclusion: The results of this study suggest that as children grow older, empathy contributes to increased prosocial behavior, especially when the level of effortful control is adequate.