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Empathy Trumps Prejudice: The Longitudinal Relation Between Empathy and Anti-Immigrant Attitudes in Adolescence
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
2018 (English)In: Developmental Psychology, ISSN 1895-6297, E-ISSN 2084-3879, Vol. 54, no 4, p. 703-717Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Although research has shown the effects of empathy manipulations on prejudice, little is known about the long-term relation between empathy and prejudice development, the direction of effects, and the relative effects of cognitive and affective aspects of empathy. Moreover, research has not examined within-person processes and, hence, its practical implications are unclear. In addition, longitudinal research on adolescents is still scarce. This three-wave study of adolescents (N = 574) examined a longitudinal, within-person relation between empathy and anti-immigrant attitudes. The "standard" cross-lagged model showed bidirectional effects between empathic concern, perspective taking, and anti-immigrant attitudes. In contrast, the Random-Intercept Cross-Lagged Panel Model showed, that only perspective taking directly predicted within-person changes in anti-immigrant attitudes. Empathic concern predicted within-person changes in anti-immigrant attitudes indirectly, via its effects on perspective taking. No effects of anti-immigrant attitudes on within-person changes in empathy were found. The relations between empathic concern, perspective taking, and anti-immigrant attitudes were significant at the between-person level. In addition, the results showed changes in anti-immigrant attitudes and perspective taking and a change in empathic concern in mid- but not late adolescence. The results provide strong evidence for the effects of perspective taking on development of anti-immigrant attitudes in adolescence. They also suggest that the link between empathic concern and adolescents’ anti-immigrant attitudes can be explained by indirect, within-person effects and by between-person differences. The findings suggest that programs aimed at reducing development of anti-immigrant attitudes in adolescence should work more closely with youth perspective taking and empathic concern.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
American Psychological Association (APA), 2018. Vol. 54, no 4, p. 703-717
Keywords [en]
Empathy, Anti-Immigrant Attitudes, Perspective Taking, Development of Prejudice, Intergroup Bias and Attitudes, Reducing Prejudice in Adolescence
National Category
Sociology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-141275DOI: 10.1037/dev0000474ISI: 000429165200009PubMedID: 29239638OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-141275DiVA, id: diva2:1153075
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 2016-04165Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, P16-0446:1Forte, Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare, 2016-07177Available from: 2017-10-27 Created: 2017-10-27 Last updated: 2018-10-29Bibliographically approved

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Miklikowska, Marta

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