Relations between parental attachment, empathy, and bystander help-seeking preference following peer aggression

Date
2022-09
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Source Title
Journal of Child and Family Studies
Print ISSN
1062-1024
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Springer
Volume
31
Issue
9
Pages
2401 - 2411
Language
English
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Abstract

This study aimed to examine the complex relations between two known predictors of bystander decisions in bullying incidents—empathy and family contextual factors—and bystander help-seeking from two preferred choices (i.e., adults and peers). In particular, we examined the mediating role of cognitive and affective empathy on the relation between parental attachment and bystander help-seeking in 826 adolescents in the 6th and 9th grade (49.9% female) using four bullying/acts of aggression scenarios. Results indicated that affective, but not cognitive, empathy served as a partial mediator for the relationship in boys, suggesting that both empathy and the family context can play a role in bystander decisions to intervene. On the other hand, empathy did not serve as a mediator for girls, suggesting that girls do not need the added push of empathy in order to intervene in bullying situations. Results suggest emphasizing home-school collaboration for boys, in particular, in bullying prevention programs in order to maximize efforts of bystanders. © 2022, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.

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