Factors influencing the development of empathy and pro-social behaviour among adolescents: A systematic review
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Silke, Charlotte, Brady, Bernadine, Boylan, Ciara, & Dolan, Pat. (2018). Factors influencing the development of empathy and pro-social behaviour among adolescents: A systematic review. Children and Youth Services Review, 94, 421-436. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.childyouth.2018.07.027
Research has indicated that empathy and prosocial responding are associated with numerous emotional, psychological and social benefits. However, although adolescence is recognised as a key period for prosocial development, knowledge about the factors that facilitate the development of empathy and prosocial responding among adolescents is limited. A narrative systematic review was conducted of studies examining the significant social and psychological correlates of empathy and prosocial behaviour in adolescents. Empirical research papers focusing on typically developing adolescents, aged 13-18 years were identified and assessed for quality. Findings from a total of 168 papers were extracted and subjected to a narrative synthesis. Results indicated that a number of different contextual and psychological factors significantly influence the levels of other-oriented (empathy and prosocial) responding expressed by adolescents. However, findings indicate that differential relationships may be observed depending on how empathy and prosocial responding are operationalised. Overall, results from this review have important implications for future research and policy.