The Moderating Role of Empathy in the Association Between Parental Support and Adolescent Aggressive and Delinquent Behavior
Article first published online: 2 JUL 2012
© 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Volume 38, Issue 5, pages 368–377, September/October 2012
How to Cite
Van der Graaff, J., Branje, S., De Wied, M. and Meeus, W. (2012), The Moderating Role of Empathy in the Association Between Parental Support and Adolescent Aggressive and Delinquent Behavior. Aggr. Behav., 38: 368–377. doi: 10.1002/ab.21435
- Issue published online: 15 AUG 2012
- Article first published online: 2 JUL 2012
- Manuscript Accepted: 14 APR 2012
- Manuscript Received: 29 AUG 2011
- parental support;
The present two-wave longitudinal study addressed the role of affective empathy and parental support in aggressive and delinquent behavior in a sample of 323 adolescents (158 boys, 165 girls). Self-report questionnaires were used to assess affective empathy, perceived support from parents, delinquency, and aggression. Guided by theories on children's differential susceptibility to socialization, we expected adolescents with different levels of empathy to vary in their responsiveness to parental support. In agreement with our hypothesis, empathy moderated the relation of perceived parental support with aggressive and delinquent behavior. Controlling for the effect of gender and for the stability of aggression and delinquency, higher perceived parental support was predictive of lower levels of aggression at age 15, but only for adolescents high in empathy. Remarkably, adolescents low in empathy not only appeared to benefit less from parental support, but even showed more aggression and delinquency at age 15 when they perceived their parents to be more supportive at age 14. Aggr. Behav. 38:368-377, 2012. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.