Sympathy and Tenderness as Components of Dispositional Empathic Concern: Predicting Helping and Caring Behaviors

Belen Lopez-Perez, Pilar Carrera, Luis Oceja, Tamara Ambrona, Eric Stocks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Recently, empathic concern was separated into the components of sympathy and tenderness (Lishner et al. 2011). So far, these two emotional experiences have been assessed as episodic emotional responses, as the existent dispositional measures remain blind to such distinction. The aim of the present research is to develop and validate a dispositional measure that captures the personal disposition to feel sympathy, tenderness, and personal distress. This new scale is called Sympathy, Tenderness and Distress Dispositional Scale (SyTeD). In Study 1, we developed and tested the internal consistency and factor structure of the English version of the scale in the United States. In Study 2, we translated the scale into Spanish and tested its content and criterion validity in Spain. In Study 3, we tested the predictive validity of the sympathy-tenderness distinction within a helping vs. a care-based scenario in the United Kingdom (SyTeD-English version). In Study 4, we tested the predictive validity of the sympathy-tenderness distinction in a real helping situation in Spain (SyTeD-Spanish version). The results across these four studies suggest that the SyTeD is a useful measure of dispositional sympathy and tenderness that allows studying further different types of prosocial behavior (i.e., help vs. care).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)458-468
Number of pages11
JournalCurrent Psychology
Volume38
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jun 2017

Keywords

  • Sympathy
  • Tenderness
  • Personal distress
  • Care
  • Help
  • Questionnaire

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