The Gender And Empathy Psychology Essay

A research revealed that female is more empathize to others than male in same age, and level of empathy growing different with age. This study measure level of empathy of 505 male and female aged 13 to 16 by using Bryant’s Index of Empathy for Children and Adolescents and Davis’s Interpersonal Reactivity Index. The result of Index of Empathy for Children and Adolescents shows that female has greater empathic response than male. Besides, female also scored higher than male in 4 aspects of empathy (perspective taking, fantasy, empathic concern, and personal distress) in Interpersonal Reactivity Index (Mestre, Samper, Frias, & Tur, 2009).

According to a study done by Wilson, Prescott, & Becket (2012), to compare level of empathy between pharmacy, nursing, and law students and compare between first and third year of students. The result shows that female scored higher than male in empathy levels although there is a difference in empathy between courses of study and year of study (Wilson, Prescott, & Becket, 2012). Consistent with this study, another study investigate gender differences and level of empathy between three different theoretical orientations groups of postgraduate students (person-centred, cognitive-behavioral and social sciences). The results showed that female from all groups scored higher than male in Davis’s Interpersonal Reactivity Index (Ivtzana, Redmanb, & Gardnerb , 2012).

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Ouzouni and Nakakis (2012) found that female significant more empathic than males as female students scored higher in level of empathy than male students in Jefferson Scale of Nursing Students Empathy, when examine the level of empathy among 279 nursing students in the study. (Ouzouni & Nakakis, 2012). In contrast, McKenna et al. (2012) found there is no significant difference between level of empathy and gender (P=0.088) among undergraduates nursing students. The study revealed that nursing students reported good level of empathy as scored good in Jefferson Scale of Physician Empathy (JSPE), but level of empathy of both female and male are almost the same (McKenna et al., 2012).

A study investigates the levels of empathy towards patients in 783 paramedic students in Australia found that there is significant difference between levels of empathy in gender. Female were found scored higher than male in Medical Condition Regard Scale (MCRS) and this indicates that female is more empathic than male with variables of medical condition of patients (Williams et al., 2012). Consistent with this study, Chen, Lew, Hershman, and Orlander (2007) conducted a study to examined level of empathy among 658 medical students in different years of study. The result showed that despite different years of study, female also scored higher than male in Jefferson Scale of Physician Empathy-Student Version (JSPE-S) (Chen, Lew, Hershman, and Orlander, 2007). Hojat et al. (2005) also found that female scored higher than male in Jefferson Scale of Physician Empathy (JSPE) while examined the relationship between empathy, interest, personality, and parent’s perceptions among first year medical students (Hojat et al., 2005).

The relationship between role of cognitive and affective empathy and gender differences in bullying among 795 adolescent, which 455 female and 340 male were investigated. The result demonstrated that female significantly higher than male in both cognitive and affective empathy especially affective empathy. (Topcu & Erdur-Baker, 2012). Consistent with the result, another study used Davis’s Interpersonal Index to compare cognitive empathy (perspective taking) and affective empathy (empathic concern) among male and female undergraduate’s medical students. Female is found scored higher than male in both cognitive and affective empathy, and the result reported higher scores in affective empathy (Quince, Parker, Wood, & Benson, 2011). Consistently, Myyry and Helkama (2001) investigated emotional empathy and value priorities among university students. The result showed that female scored higher than male in emotional empathy as measured by Mehrabian and Epstein’s Questionnaire Measure of Emotional Empathy (Myyry & Helkama, 2001).

A study examined the gender differences on empathizing-systemizing (E-S) theory and extreme male brain (EMB) theory of autism. The participants included group 1, 48 Autism people, and two control group with 137 general populations and students of university respectively. The result revealed that females from both control groups scored higher than males in Empathy Quotient, and male scored higher in Systemizing Quotient, while autism group does not shows gender differences in Empathy Quotient (Wakabayashi et al., 2007). Wakabayashi was later conducted a study to measure Empathy Quotient and Systemizing Quotient among 626 normal Japanese children with age range from 6 to 15 years old. The result was consistent with previous study, with female scored higher than male in Empathy Quotient and male scored higher in Systemizing Quotient (Wakabayashi, 2013).

Rueckert & Naybar (2006) believed that the role of right hemisphere had impact in empathy. In the study, activation of right cerebral hemisphere (RH) and empathy of 22 male and 73 female have been examined by doing a face task which is recognizing the happy face. The result revealed that female scored higher than male in empathy questionnaire, and female’s empathy is found correlated to activation of RH, but not in male’s empathy. Therefore, the role of right hemisphere is in relation to gender differences and empathy (Rueckert & Naybar, 2006). Consistently, another research also found that gender difference in empathy is correlated to brain, primarily right hemisphere, with neurons in female’s right regions of brain is more active than in male. The result indicates that female shows activation in right regions of brain in frontal lobe when completing tasks about emotion attribution, involving both self-task which is focus on own emotion to emotion expressing faces, and other-task that evaluated the emotional state of expressing faces. However, there is no activation in male (Ruther, Markowitsch, Shah, Fink, & Piefke, 2008).

Dadds et al. (2008) found that level of empathy in female developed more than male across year. The study revealed that girls in 7 to 10 years old age group scored higher for Griffith Empathy Measure than boys in the same age group. It’s also reported that girls in age group of 11 to 16 years old scored higher than boys in the same age group. This study indicates that girls more empathize to boys because their empathy levels developed more than boys although in same chronological age (Dadds et al., 2008). Consistently, a study examined the effects of age on self-reported empathy in adults from 18 to 90 years old. The result shows that female scored higher in level of empathy than male in Interpersonal Reactivity Index across year although level of empathy is found the highest in middle-aged adults than both young and older adults (O’Brien, Konrath, Gruhn, & Hagen, 2012). In contrast, Wakabayashi (2013) examined relationship between Empathy Quotient and age by gender among Japanese children who aged from 6 to 15 years old. The result indicates the interaction of age and gender in Empathy Quotient is not significant (Wakabayashi, 2013).

Cundiff and Komarraju (2008) found that male and female in multicultural society have difference perceptions in empathy. For instances, ethno cultural empathy which is ethnic and cultural empathy that associated to social dilemmas such as prejudices or racism. The research investigated ethno cultural empathy among 365 undergraduate students in health care program. The result illustrated that female have higher level of ethnic and cultural empathy than male, which they have more positive attitudes towards others from ethnic and cultural minority groups when compared to male. This indicated that female is more empathic than males (Cundiff, & Komarraju, 2008). In contrast, a research found there is no significant difference in cultural empathy among male and female (t= -0.74) of international undergraduates in Malaysia because the discrepancy between cultural empathy in male and female is small (Yusoff, 2010).

Another research done by Rasoal, Jungert, Hau, Stiwne, and Andersson (2009), study aimed to investigate differences between basic empathy and ethnocultural empathy among 365 undergraduate students. It found that gender difference is related to both basic and ethnocultural empathy as females scored higher than male in all parts of empathy of both basic and ethnocultural despite excluded empathic perspective taking (Rasoal, Jungert, Hau, Stiwne, & Andersson, 2009).

Wakabayashi et al. (2007) revealed that gender difference and level of empathy is not influenced by cultural differences, and female tends to have higher empathy levels than male. In the cross-cultural study, Japanese female are found have higher empathy levels than Japanese male as they scored higher in Empathic Quotient, similar with female in Western society who reported higher level of empathy than male. (Wakabayashi et al., 2007).

Gender and Self-Esteem

According to study done by McMullin & Cairney (2004), the relationship between self-esteem, gender, age, and class among 16,051 of Canadian residents have been examined, by using Rosenberg’s self-esteem scale. The result revealed that there is a relationship between self-esteem and gender. Male found to have higher levels of self-esteem than females. This study also revealed self-esteem in both male and female are related to social class and age (McMullin & Cairney, 2004).In contrast, Skultety and Whitbourne (2004) found that there is no gender differences in self-esteem. The study examined the relationship of gender difference in self-esteem and identity process (identity assimilation, identity accommodation, and balance) among 222 adults, aged 40 to 84 years old. When compared to gender and self-esteem, male and female in all age groups reported similar mean scores in Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (Skultety & Whitbourne, 2004).

A study examined the relationship between self-esteem and gender, age, and courses of study among 105 male and101 female with of university students, with mean age 23.60. The result indicated when compare to dimensions of self-esteem in academic achievement, evaluation of social, and self-appearance, the overall self-esteem scores for male much more higher than female and there is significant difference in overall self-esteem scores in male and female (Tamini & Valibeygi, 2011). Another study conducted by Saadat, Ghasemzadeh, and Soleimani (2012) examined the level of self-esteem and the relationship with academic achievement among 370 university students. The study tested 5 types of self-esteem for male and female, including global, academic, body, family, and social self-esteem. The results of this study is contrast to Tamini and Valibeygi (2011), that is female scored higher than male in four types of self-esteem except family self-esteem (Saadat, Ghasemzadeh, & Soleimani, 2012). Male were found scored higher than female in self-esteem for academic achievement (Tamini & Valibeygi, 2011). In contrast, Saadat, Ghasemzadeh, and Soleimani (2012) found that female is scored higher than male in academic achievement (Saadat, Ghasemzadeh, & Soleimani, 2012).

A study done by Rahmani (2011), with the purpose to examine the relationship between self-esteem, achievement goals and academic performance among 200 primary school students, aged between 7 to 11 years old. The result indicated that when compared both male and female in the association of self-esteem and achievement goals, male scored higher than female in Eysenck self-esteem questionnaire (Rahmani, 2011). Consistent with this study, Lent and Figueira-Mcdonough (2002) also found that there is significant difference between gender and self-esteem. This study investigated gender, poverty, and self-esteem, and examined relationship between self-esteem and competency in many domains among female and male. The results revealed that female in overall have lower self-esteem than male as they see themselves as less competent than did male (Lent & Figueira-Mcdonough, 2002).

A study conducted by Park & Epstein (2013) aimed to investigate the relationship between self-esteem and distress with body image, and impacts from relationship with parents among 1,584 male and 1,582 female of Korea adolescent. When compared between body image distress and self-esteem among gender, male reported higher level of self-esteem than female even feels distress with body image. The result also revealed that female’s self-esteem was influence by distress of body image and vice versa, but for male, not vice versa, means that body image distress do not influence by self-esteem (Park & Epstein, 2013). Another research done by Pritchard (2010) investigated the relationship between self-esteem in gender and preoccupation of body weight among 335 female and 232 male of undergraduates students part. In contradict with Park and Epstein (2013) when examined self-esteem and body image among male and female, the result of this study showed that there is no significant difference in self-esteem of female and male, but female have higher levels of weight preoccupation than male (Pritchard, 2010).

Another study investigates the relationship between self-esteem, romantic relationship, dimensions of attachment (avoidance and anxiety), and styles of attachment among 398 young people of Thai, aged 18 to 24 years old. These variables are divided into two groups, which is romantic attachment (involve satisfaction towards relationship and relationship length) and non-romantic attachment. The result indicates there is significant difference between self-esteem and gender. When compared between genders, male from two different groups reported higher mean scores in self-esteem than female. (Wongpakaran, Wongpakaran, & Wedding, 2012). Consistently, Moksnes, Moljord, Espnes, and Byrne (2010) also found there is gender difference in self-esteem. The study examined level of self-esteem, stress, and state of emotions (anxiety and depression) among 1,508 adolescents. Male reported scored higher in level of self-esteem compared to female and female reported scored higher in state of emotions and stress than male (Moksnes, Moljord, Espnes, & Byrne, 2010).

Falci (2011) conducted a study and revealed that level of self-esteem in male is higher than female. The study investigated self-esteem and trajectory of mastery in gender across high school year among 769 adolescents in 9th and 12th grades. The result illustrated that self-esteem of female has been inclined during high school year. Besides, gender gap in self-esteem has been declined between 9th and 12th grades and this indicates that both female and male have similar levels of self-esteem in this period. However, male still reported have higher levels of self-esteem than female in 9th and 12th grades (Falci, 2011). Another study done by Quatman and Watson (2001) to examine the relationship between gender and self-esteem among 545 adolescent from 8th, 10th, and 12th grades. Eight domains of self-esteem, including personal security, academic achievement, popularity in peers, attractiveness, parents, personal mastery, athletic competency, and psychological permeability were tested between gender. The result illustrated that male have higher self-esteem than female in six of eight domains of self-esteem, except popularity in peers and academic achievement which demonstrated no significant differences among gender. Consistent with result in study by Falci (2011), this study found that overall self-esteem scores for male are higher than female (Quatman & Watson, 2001).

Sherer and Enbal (2006) found that male have higher levels of self-esteem than females even in different cultural background. The study aimed to investigate self-esteem levels in both female and male and relationship with cultural background. The study compared self-esteem in both female and male among two different national groups, which is 742 Jewish and 234 Arab youths. In the comparison of nationality, no gender differences is found in self-esteem, as the result showed that both female and male of Arab youths are reported scored higher in level self-esteem than Jewish youths. In contrast, if compared between gender and self-esteem, male from both nationalities reported higher score in self-esteem scale compared to female (Sherer & Enbal, 2006).

A longitudinal study investigated relationship between life satisfaction and socioeconomic status (SES) on self-esteem of male and female among Chinese university students, which 214 male and 134 female. The result showed that females reported higher levels of self-esteem than male if associated to higher levels of life satisfaction and SES status. This indicates that self-esteem of female is influence by life satisfaction and SES status compared to male (Ye, Lu, & Li, 2012). Consistently, another done by Diener & Diener (2009) also found that female have higher self-esteem than male if associated with life satisfaction. The cross-cultural study examined the self-esteem and life satisfaction (family, friends, and finances) among college students from 31 nations. The result indicates that life satisfaction is highly correlated to self-esteem, and correlations between life satisfaction and self-esteem for female is stronger than did male (Diener & Diener, 2009).

Empathy and Self-Esteem

A study conducted by Turnage, Hong, Stevenson, and Edwards (2012), study aimed to investigate the relationship between and empathy, self-esteem, and forgiveness among 86 social workers from different ethnicity, age range from 19 to 51 years old. When compared correlations between age, self-esteem, empathy, forgiveness of self, and forgiveness of others, self-esteem was correlated to forgiveness, however, self-esteem and empathy were found not significant correlated, where r(80)=-0.01 (Turnage, Hong, Stevenson, & Edwards, 2012). Consistently, another study investigate the relationship between self-esteem, empathy, types of loneliness, and coping skills among 75 adolescent in high school who are at high risk for dropout from school or poor academic performance. Self-esteem was found negative correlated to loneliness, however, empathy was found not correlated to loneliness. Both self-esteem and empathy was found significantly correlated to coping skills. However, when compared self-esteem and empathy, there is no significant correlation between self-esteem and empathy as r=0.06 (Mcwhirter, Besett-Alesch, Horibata, & Gat, 2002).

A study examined the relationship between self-esteem, empathy, and narcissism in Integrative Self-Knowledge and Narcissism Personality Inventory among 406 university students with age mean 21.3 years old. This study measured three kinds of empathy from Davis’s Interpersonal Reactivity Index, including empathic concern, perspective taking, and personal distress. The result indicates that narcissism is negative correlated to Integrative Self-Knowledge, empathic concern, perspective taking, and self-esteem while positive correlated to Narcissism Personality Inventory. Correlation between self-esteem and empathy was found significant, where self-esteem positive correlated to empathic concern (r=0.18, p<0.001), empathic perspective taking (r=0.25, p<0.001), and negative correlated to empathic distress (r=-0.36, p<0.001) (Ghorbani, Watson, Hamzavy, & Weathington, 2010). Consistently, another study conducted by Laible, Carlo, and Roesch (2004), aimed to investigated the relationship of attachment with parent and peer and self-esteem and to determine the role of empathy and social behaviour among 246 undergraduates students who enrolled into psychology course, with mean age 18.6 years old. When measured the correlations between variables, empathy is found significant correlated to aggression and prosocial behaviour. Self-esteem was found significant correlated to aggressive behaviour. However, empathy and self-esteem were found not significant correlated where r=0.11 (Laible, Carlo, & Roesch, 2004).

In a study done by Findley & Ojanen, (2012), the association of narcissism, empathy, and perceptions of self-and others with communion (clones and affiliation) and interpersonal agency (power and status) have been investigated. The study was conducted in two studies among undergraduate students. Study 1 examined the relationship of social goals (agentic and communal goals), narcissism, empathy, self-esteem, and perception of others. The aim of study 2 is examine whether there had replicated cross-sectional model from study 1 in study 2, by changing to different participants. The result for both study 1 and study 2 indicated that empathy and perceptions of others were found positively associated with communal goals. Empathy was found negatively associated and narcissism was positively associated with agentic goals. Self-esteem was found positively related to both communal and agentic goals. Both study 1 and study 2 also found empathy is correlated to self-esteem, with zero-order correlation in study 1 (r=0.28, p<0.01), and study 2 (r=0.34, p<0.01) (Findley & Ojanen, 2012).

In a study done by Miklikowska (2012), study aimed to determine the effect of individual’s differences on individual’s democratic values by integrating variety of measure for individual differences (such as self-esteem, empathy, interpersonal trust, authoritarianism) among 1341 upper secondary students, aged 16 to 17 years old. The result indicates that empathy might contribute to democratic values, and self-esteem was not found related to democratic values. Yet, when measure correlations between variables of individual differences, empathy and self-esteem were found not significant correlated which r=0.022 (Miklikowska, 2012).

Trumpeter, Watson, O’Leary, and Weathington (2008) conducted a study to investigate relationship between perceived parental empathy and parent’s love inconsistency on self-functioning of 232 undergraduate students by measuring their self-esteem, narcissism, and depression. The result illustrated that perceived parental empathy affect on student’s self-functioning. Parent’s empathy level was measured in subscale of empathic concern and perspective taking from Davis’s Interpersonal Reactivity Index. The result illustrated perceived both father’s and mother’s empathic concern and perspective taking was positively correlated to their child’s self-esteem and their child are more tend to engage in adaptive self-functioning (Trumpeter, Watson, O’Leary, & Weathington, 2008).

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