Perceived maternal control and responsiveness to distress as predictors of young adults' empathic responses

Michal Kanat-Maymon, Avi Assor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations

Abstract

Two studies examined the relations between young adults' empathic responding and their perceptions of two maternal behaviors. As predicted from self-determination theory, perceived maternal control had unique negative associations with empathic support of one's romantic partner (indicated by both self-reports and partner reports) and with empathic concern for others in general, and a unique positive association with personal distress in response to others in need. Perceived maternal responsiveness to distress was a unique positive predictor of empathic concern. The findings suggest that the experience of one's mother as controlling is likely to interfere with one's empathic responding and that high levels of perceived maternal responsiveness do not cancel the negative effects of the experience of controlling parenting. Furthermore, the findings suggest that high levels of perceived maternal responsiveness might exacerbate the negative relations between perceived maternal control and personal distress in response to others in need.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-46
Number of pages14
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Volume36
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2010

Keywords

  • Empathy
  • Parental control
  • Parental responsiveness to child distress
  • Romantic relationships
  • Self-determination theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

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