The Trajectory (& Importance of) Empathy for Hispanic Teens Today: A Holistic Review & Pilot Study

Timothy Phoenix Oblad, McKinsie Kay Oblad
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Abstract


Recently, an NPR piece (Rosin, 2019) entitled: “The End of Empathy” discussed the dramatic decrease in empathy over recent decades and how today, a lack of understanding or feeling the plight of another human being is a largely forgotten value. As reviewed in the current study, two types of empathy are affective empathy (sympathy, compassion for others) (Reddy et al., 2013) and cognitive empathy (having an ability to see another’s’ perspective) (Ang & Goh, 2010). Scholars agree that empathy is an important skill-set but have also consistently found empathetic differences in gender and age. The current pilot study sought to address this specific notion in spring 2019. Preliminary results indicate over 70% of the sample scored low on empathy (N=88), another 17% (N=21) reported a normal/average amount of empathy and understanding. 11% (N=14) scored extremely empathetic. The empathy quotient scale reported an excellent cronbach’s alpha (α =) of .812. Main findings indicated that better coping skills positvely correlates with higher rates of empathy. By gender, there was a statistically significant difference in scores for males (M = 17.44, SD = 6.23) and females (M = 21.24, SD = 6.10; t (121) = -3.39, p < .001, with females scoring higher in empathy overall. The magnitude of the differences in the means is moderate as 8.7% of the variance in empathy was explained by sex. For females, relationship satisfaction with caregivers was a strong predictor of empathy as well as positive coping skills. For males, none of the internal or external measures predicted level of empathy. These findings provide educators  insight into where empathy-training should be primarily directed.

Keywords


Empathy, Adolescence, Cyber-aggression, Cross-cultural, Coping methods

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