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The role of parents, peers and empathy in adolescents’ community participation

By L. van Dam


Objective: This longitudinal study investigated the role of adolescent empathy, parental participation, parental encouragement of participation, relationship quality with parents and peers on the participation of adolescents in community and political activities. The potential mediating role of empathy in the relationship between adolescents participation and parental and peer factors was also examined. Method: A sample of 327 adolescents aged 14 and their parents reported their participation and encouragement, adolescents rated their relationship quality with parents and best friend and their level of empathy. Wave three and four from a five annual wave study were used. Results: Empathy had a positive influence on the relationship quality with best friend for girls. Empathy only significantly influenced relationship quality with mother for girls, when sex differences were added. Adolescents’ perceived support from their best friend had a positive influence on boys’ and girls’ empathy development. For boys, perceived maternal support also had a positive influence on their empathy development. No mediating effect of empathy was found and adolescents’ actual involvement did not correlate significantly with any other variables. Conclusions: The results indicate for boys and girls empathy has a different influence on adolescents’ their relationships. It also became clear that different relationships are of influence on empathy. Parental participation and encouragement, relationships with parents and friends and empathy do not contribute significantly to the adolescents’ participation in political and community activities

Topics: Sociale Wetenschappen, Adolescence, empathy, community and political involvement, parent-adolescence relations, peer relations
Year: 2009
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