The role of affective and cognitive empathy in physical, verbal, and indirect aggression of a Singaporean sample of boys

Lay See Yeo, Rebecca P. Ang, Shihan Loh, Karen J. Fu, Jennifer K. Karre

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21 Scopus citations


Bullying behavior is a serious form of school violence, affecting many children. This study investigated the contributions of 2 specific components of empathy (affective and cognitive empathy) on the 3 forms of aggressive behaviors in a sample of 241 Grade 4 and Grade 5 boys from Singapore. The 2 components of empathy differed in their relation with the 3 types of aggression. After accounting for cognitive empathy, affective empathy was associated with physical aggression. Neither affective empathy nor cognitive empathy was associated with verbal aggression. With control for affective empathy, cognitive empathy was associated with indirect aggression. Results suggest that empathy training based on specific deficits may be helpful in intervention and prevention of specific aggressive behaviors.


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Business, Management and Accounting (miscellaneous)
  • Education
  • Psychology(all)

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