Interaction Effect of Empathy and Effortful Control on Preschoolers' Prosocial Behavior: Differences Between 4 and 5-Year-Olds

Sori Mok, Min Ju Kang
2019 Adonghakoeji  
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
more » ... 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.
doi:10.5723/kjcs.2019.40.5.13 fatcat:5u5v5wob6nfyzdup6ilrexxxrq