- Sascha Hein, Mandy Röder, Michael Fingerle
- Published Online:
- 15 Dec 2016
- Volume/Issue No:
- Early View Articles
The role of emotion regulation in situational empathy‐related responding and prosocial behaviour in the presence of negative affect
Empathy and prosocial behaviour are crucial factors for children's positive social adjustment. Contemporary models of empathy highlight the capacity to regulate vicariously experienced emotions as a precursor to empathy‐related responses (e.g., prosocial behaviour). The goal of this study was to examine the role of emotion regulation (ER) in situational empathy‐related responding and prosocial behaviour. A sample of 157 children (76 boys and 81 girls; Mage = 9.94 years) participated in a two‐tiered interview procedure that utilised vignettes to assess empathy and prosocial behaviour. Between both phases of the interview, a negative affect was induced to investigate the influence of ER on the change between the two phases. Results from a latent change model showed that ER strategies positively predicted change scores, that is, children with higher abilities to regulate emotions showed a higher increase in empathy and prosocial behaviour. Implications for the promotion of social‐emotional learning in school are discussed.
© 2016 International Union of Psychological Science