Empathy: the road to altruism

The main purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between empathy and altruism by using the Empathy and Caring Questionnaire which was developed specifically for this study. This study was further seeking to examine whether there are age differences in the level of empathy development in young to mid adolescence. In addition, the purpose of this study was to follow the development of empathy and altruism and their relation to gender and ethnicity. The participants were 35 adolescents (Mage= 14.7 years; 43% boys, 57% girls; 60% Latino, 37.1% White, 2.9% African American), mostly from two high schools in Southern California (private and public). Overall, there were no significant differences in levels of empathy across gender, ethnicity, and age. Significant differences were noted for involvement in voluntarism. A significant difference was noted for age on a component of empathy. Implications for future research on the relations among adolescents and empathy and suggestions for educators on how to increase empathy and caring are discussed.