Study: Empathy is passed from one generation to the next

Through interviews with teens, their mothers and friends, researchers found empathy showed by mothers predicts the level of empathy their children show to their friends.

Gillian Neff and Rose Shannon

Jun 2, 2024, 2:45 PM

Updated 10 days ago

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A new study has found empathy can be taught, especially in teenagers.
Researchers at the University of Virginia studied 184 people over two decades, starting when they were young teens.
Through interviews with teens, their mothers and friends, researchers found empathy showed by mothers predicts the level of empathy their children show to their friends.
Psychologists say the key to being empathetic with your kids is to look and listen more.
Researchers also learned that the empathy teens experienced "from their mothers may strengthen their future parenting skills." Research shows teens who received greater empathy were more supportive and empathic toward their own children.
Researchers suggest teens who spend more time with their "supportive" peers tend to more supportive and caring friends themselves.


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