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Guided by a social information processing perspective, this study examined the unique and interactive contributions of social anxiety and two distinct components of empathy, empathic concern and perspective taking, to subsequent relational and overt aggression in early adolescents. Participants were 485 10- to 14-year old middle school students (54% female; 78% European-American) involved in two waves of a study with one year between each wave. Hierarchical regression analyses showed that higher levels of empathic concern were directly associated with decreases in subsequent relational and overt aggression one year later and buffered the impact of social anxiety on subsequent relational aggression. Although perspective taking did not moderate the impact of social anxiety on either form of aggression, it was a unique predictor of increased relational aggression one year later. Findings call for future research to assess both components of empathy separately as they relate to relational and overt aggression.
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- Social Anxiety and Aggression in Early Adolescents: Examining the Moderating Roles of Empathic Concern and Perspective Taking
Milena D. Batanova
- Springer US