Tracy L. Spinrad, Nancy Eisenberg, Amanda Sheffield Morris

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

2 Scopus citations


This chapter offers an overview of research into empathy-related responding in children. We begin this review by differentiating empathy, sympathy, and personal distress reactions and discuss relevant theoretical issues when conceptualizing these emotions. Next, we provide a review of the normative development of empathy-related responding. We consider the role of empathy-related responding in children’s prosocial behavior, social competence, and adjustment, and we highlight the role of self-regulation on children’s empathy-related responding. We also review research on the origins of empathy-related responding, including hereditary and environmental factors, and emerging research on the neuroscience of empathy-related responding and prosocial behavior. We conclude with a brief discussion of implications and future research directions.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Moral Development, Third Edition
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781000604443
ISBN (Print)9780367497569
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2022


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