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Korean J Child Stud > Volume 40(5); 2019 > Article
Korean Journal of Child Studies 2019;40(5): 13-29.
doi: https://doi.org/10.5723/kjcs.2019.40.5.13
유아의 친사회적 행동에 대한 공감능력과 의도적 통제의 상호작용 효과 : 만 4, 5세 연령 차이를 중심으로
목소리1 , 강민주2
1연세대학교 휴먼라이프 연구센터 보조연구원
2연세대학교 아동·가족학과 부교수
Interaction Effect of Empathy and Effortful Control on Preschoolers’ Prosocial Behavior: Differences Between 4 and 5-Year-Olds
Sori Mok1 , Min Ju Kang2
1Assistant Researcher, Human Life Researcher Center, Yonsei University, Seoul, Korea
2Associate Professor, Department of Child & Family Studies, Yonsei University, Seoul, Korea
Correspondence :  Min Ju Kang ,Email: mjkang@yonsei.ac.kr
Received: June 30, 2019  Revised: September 15, 2019   Accepted: October 7, 2019
To examine the interaction effect of empathy and effortful control on prosocial behavior among Korean preschoolers.
The participants of this study were 167 (82 boys, 85 girls) 4 and 5-year-olds from preschools in Seoul Province. Prosocial behavior was evaluated based on teachers’ reports. The level of empathy was measured by a task in which the children responded to the researcher’s questions and effortful control was assessed by behavioral tasks administered by the researcher. The data were preliminarily analyzed by t-tests and Pearson’s correlation analyses. The interaction effect of empathy and effortful control was analyzed with the SPSS 24.0 PROCESS MACRO.
First, the empathy and effortful control scores of the 5-year-olds were higher than those of the 4-year-olds, whereas there was no age difference in prosocial behavior. Second, in both 4 and 5 year-olds, empathy and effortful control were positively associated with prosocial behavior. Additionally, only for the 5-year-olds, girls demonstrated more prosocial behavior than boys. Third, for explaining the variance in prosocial behavior, there was a main effect of empathy for the 4-year-olds and a main effect of effortful control for the 5-year-olds. Finally, the interaction effect of empathy and effortful control on prosocial behavior was significant only for the 5-year-olds.
The results of this study suggest that as children grow older, empathy contributes to increased prosocial behavior, especially when the level of effortful control is adequate.
Key Words: prosocial behavior, empathy, effortful control, age difference
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