Sympathy, distress, and prosocial behavior of preschool children in four cultures

Trommsdorff, Gisela; Friedlmeier, Wolfgang; Mayer, Boris (2007). Sympathy, distress, and prosocial behavior of preschool children in four cultures. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 31(3), pp. 284-293. Sage 10.1177/0165025407076441

[img] Text
Trommsdorff_etal_2007_Preschool_Children_JBD.pdf - Published Version
Restricted to registered users only
Available under License Publisher holds Copyright.

Download (173kB) | Request a copy

This study examined emotional responding (sympathy and distress) and prosocial behavior as well as their relations across four cultures in a specific context. Preschool children (N = 212) from two Western cultures, Germany and Israel, and two South-East Asian cultures, Indonesia and Malaysia, participated in this study. Children's emotional reactions and prosocial behavior were observed when interacting with an adult in a quasi-experimental situation. Results showed that children from the two South-East Asian cultures, as compared to children from the two Western cultures, displayed more self-focused distress and less prosocial behavior. Across cultures, a positive relation between sympathy and prosocial behavior and a negative relation between self-focused distress and prosocial behavior were found. The strengths of these relations were moderated by culture. These results are discussed with regard to their cultural meaning in the specific experimental situation as well as to general culture-specific characteristics.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Psychology > Cognitive Psychology, Perception and Methodology

UniBE Contributor:

Mayer, Boris


100 Philosophy > 150 Psychology








Boris Mayer

Date Deposited:

06 Oct 2014 11:53

Last Modified:

24 Jun 2015 08:27

Publisher DOI:


Additional Information:

Notes: 177UP Times Cited:6 Cited References Count:59 Date: May ISI:000247178300009

Uncontrolled Keywords:

cross-cultural comparison, distress, observation study, preschool-children, prosocial behavior, sympathy, pro-social behavior, empathy, motivation, motives, emotion, german, values, kappa, self




Actions (login required)

Edit item Edit item
Provide Feedback