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J Genet Psychol. 2017 Jan-Feb;178(1):58-72. doi: 10.1080/00221325.2016.1256155.

Empathic Skills and Cyberbullying: Relationship of Different Measures of Empathy to Cyberbullying in Comparison to Offline Bullying Among Young Adults.

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1
a Department of Educational Psychology , Institute of Education, Technische Universit├Ąt Berlin , Berlin , Germany.

Abstract

Empathy, as the ability to understand and feel the emotions of others, is related to less bullying behavior. However, the link of bullying behavior with self-reports of empathy seems to be stronger than with behavioral measures of empathy (e.g., empathic accuracy). Few studies have analyzed the relationship of affective and cognitive empathy to cyberbullying behavior, especially among young adults. In a quasiexperimental dyadic interaction paradigm with 72 young adults, empathic accuracy was operationalized as the match of other- and self-reported emotions for the target, and emotional congruence as the match of the target's and the perceiver's self-reported emotions. Affective and cognitive empathy, offline bullying behavior, and cyberbullying behavior were measured using self-reports. Empathic accuracy and cognitive empathy were found to be negatively linked. Emotional congruence, self-reported affective and cognitive empathy did not correlate with offline bullying behavior or cyberbullying behavior. Only empathic accuracy was significantly negatively linked to offline bullying behavior. In group tests, higher empathic accuracy (but not emotional congruence) was connected to less offline bullying behavior. In a multiple regression analysis only emotional congruence was a predictor of cyberbullying behavior. Thus, while empathic accuracy might diminish offline bullying behavior, emotional congruence might diminish cyberbullying behavior.

KEYWORDS:

Adults; cyberbullying; empathic accuracy; empathy; offline bullying

PMID:
28121287
DOI:
10.1080/00221325.2016.1256155
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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