The Relationship Between Empathy-Related Constructs and Care-Based Moral Development in Young Adulthood
Journal of Moral Education, Volume 39, Issue 2, pages 191 - 211
By Eva E. A. Skoe
This study examined the link between care-based moral reasoning and
three different aspects of empathy—perspective taking, sympathy and
personal distress. Participants were 30 female and 28 male students,
ranging in age from 20 to 42 years. As expected, results showed that
perspective taking uniquely predicted care-based moral reasoning levels
(positively), as assessed by Skoe's Ethic of Care Interview (ECI).
Personal distress, in contrast, was uniquely negatively related to the
ECI. There was a curvilinear relationship between sympathy and the ECI
for women only; women at ECI Level 2 (self-sacrificing care for others)
scored higher on sympathy than did all others. Moreover, women scored
significantly higher than did men on the emotional aspects of empathy
(i.e. sympathy and personal distress) but not on cognitive perspective
taking or on the ECI. These findings support the theory that empathy
plays a significant (and positive) role in adults' moral reasoning.
They also highlight the complexity of sex differences in the area of
moral affect and cognition. Implications for moral education are
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(Something interesting I found)Posted: Monday, May 17, 2010
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