To assess the relative contribution of genderand gender-role orientation to empathy and itsdevelopment, 8th and 11th grade Israeli adolescentscompleted Davis' empathy scale and Bem's gender-roleorientation inventory, which yields a femininity score anda masculinity score for each participant. Withmasculinity and femininity treated as a within subjectsvariable, masculinity/femininity interacted with grade, such that whereas masculinity in both boys andgirls increased with grade, femininity decreased ingirls and increased in boys. Empathy was unrelated tograde or to masculinity but was related to gender and to femininity. When the contribution ofmasculinity/femininity was covaried, empathy was foundto be unrelated to gender. This pattern was found forthree of the empathy subscales: Perspective Taking, Empathic Concern, and Personal Distress, whichwere positively correlated. On the basis of a mediansplit, participants were then classified as Masculine,Feminine, Undifferentiated, or Androgynous. Androgynous individuals did not differ from Feminineindividuals on any of the empathy subscales. Thefindings were discussed in terms of the socialization ofemotions and gender-role orientation.
Sex Roles – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 6, 2004
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