Poster Presentation 6th World Congress on Positive Psychology 2019

Gender Differences In Empathy Among Adolescents: The Role Of Autobiographical Memory Specificity   (#639)

Barbara Chuen Yee Lo 1 2 3 , Shelby Lily Yu 3 , Sau Yi Kwan 1 2
  1. Department of Applied Psychology, Lingnan University, Hong Kong
  2. Wofoo Joseph Lee Consulting and Counselling Psychology Research Centre, Lingnan University, Hong Kong
  3. Department of Psychology, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

This study explored the relationship between empathy and social autobiographical memories. In total, 170 adolescents aged between 11 to 19 in Hong Kong participated in a cross-sectional study. Result revealed that girls scored significantly higher in the trait of empathy than boys. More specifically, by adopting Interpersonal Reactivity Index, girls were found to score higher than boys in one of the sub-scores referred to as affective empathy, suggesting that female tended to react more emotionally than male. Additionally, results indicated that a positive correlation between empathy and social autobiographical memory was found in females only . One possible explanation is that male do not usually show empathetic expression due to the traditional Chinese culture in Hong Kong. Men often play a masculine role and tend not to speak out personal emotion in front of others, whereas women are more likely to be a housewife to take care of kids and family with more empathetic and sensitive way. Implications on positive education across gender would be discussed.