Considering economic stress and empathic traits in predicting prosocial behaviors among U.S. Latino adolescents

Alexandra N. Davis, Gustavo Carlo, Cara Streit, Lisa J. Crockett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Scopus citations

Abstract

The goal of the current study was to examine two competing models focusing on the roles of empathy-related traits in the relation between economic stress and prosocial behaviors. First, we examined the mediating roles of perspective taking and empathic concern in the association between economic stress and adolescents’ prosocial behaviors. Second, we examined the moderating role of perspective taking in the association between economic stress and empathic concern, as well as the links between empathic concern and prosocial behaviors. Participants consisted of 307 (46.2% girls; M age = 15.05) U.S. Latino adolescents (77.5% U.S. Mexicans) and their primary caregivers (87.9% mothers). Primary caregivers reported on family-level economic stress, and adolescents reported on their own perspective taking, empathic concern, and their tendency to engage in six forms of prosocial behaviors. Results demonstrated support for the moderating role of perspective taking on the link between economic stress and empathic concern, which in turn, was associated with multiple forms of helping behaviors. Economic stress was also directly associated with selfless and selfish helping behaviors. The discussion focuses on the multiple roles of empathic traits in understanding the links between economic stress and prosocial outcomes in U.S. Latino youth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)58-72
Number of pages15
JournalSocial Development
Volume27
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2018

Keywords

  • Latino youth
  • economic stress
  • empathic concern
  • perspective taking
  • prosocial behaviors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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