Peer acceptance among Chinese adolescents: The role of emotional empathy, cognitive empathy and gender

Heqing Huang, Yanjie Su
Published Online:
12 May 2014
Volume/Issue No:
Volume 49 Issue 5

Additional Options

Previous studies have found mixed results on the relationship between empathy and peer acceptance. Emotional and cognitive components of empathy were hypothesised to play different roles in peer acceptance, and the relationship between empathy and peer acceptance differed across genders. In this study, 375 Chinese adolescents completed self‐report measures of emotional and cognitive empathy. They also provided peer nominations that allowed for the determination of social preference and social impact scores. The results showed that a boy's cognitive empathy positively correlated with the extent to which he was liked by his male classmates, whereas a girl's cognitive empathy positively correlated with her social impact among her female classmates. This study suggests that empathy does not affect peer acceptance among adolescents uniformly; instead, gender plays a determinative role in the dialectics between social acceptance and empathy.

© 2014 International Union of Psychological Science