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Associations between empathy, resource control and social dominance in early childhood
  • Alan Roberts,
  • Claire Monks,
  • Stella Tsermentseli
Alan Roberts
University College London
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Claire Monks
University of Greenwich

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Stella Tsermentseli
University of Thessaly
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Abstract

This study examined the relationship between empathy, social dominance and resource control in children during their first school year. Ninety-two, 4-5-year-old children completed assessments of verbal ability and empathy; their class teachers completed questionnaires assessing social dominance, resource control strategy (prosocial and coercive) and resource control success for each participating child in their class. Resource control strategies were differentially associated with empathy. Prosocial resource control strategy was positively associated with affective empathy. Coercive resource control strategy was also positively associated with affective empathy, but only at high levels of cognitive empathy. The effect of affective empathy on resource control success and social dominance was no longer significant when the resource control strategies (prosocial and coercive) were taken into account. Results support previous theoretical contentions that empathy may play an important role in resource-directed behaviour in early childhood and that resource-directed behaviour is associated with resource control success and social dominance.