Attachment Quality and Empathic Ability in Adolescence



We present a review of recent empirical studies of different family factors influencing the development of empathy in children and adolescents that confirm the close relationship between empathy and attachment in adolescents. Parental sensitivity to the child’s condition proves to be the basis for secure attachment and empathy development during adolescence. Parenting style is considered as one of the most important factors influencing the development of empathy and the formation of secure attachment. We describe J. Stern’s conceptual model linking empathy and attachment, and the results of empirical studies confirming this model. Conclusions: the quality of attachment and empathy in adolescents are linked; parenting style mediates and defines this link between empathy and attachment; empathy and attachment have a common phylogenetic ground, that is, parental sensitivity to the child’s moods and needs. Psychoeducation with parents or couples planning to have children should be aimed at developing the ability to form a secure attachment with a child.

General Information

Keywords: empathy, attachment, adolescents, a model of the connection between empathy and attachment, emotional self-regulation, parenting

Journal rubric: Research Reviews


For citation: Klimenkova E.N. Attachment Quality and Empathic Ability in Adolescence. Konsul'tativnaya psikhologiya i psikhoterapiya = Counseling Psychology and Psychotherapy, 2018. Vol. 26, no. 4, pp. 119–131. DOI: 10.17759/cpp.2018260408. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


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Information About the Authors

Elizaveta N. Klimenkova, PhD in Psychology, Senior Lecturer, Department of Clinical and Counseling Psychology, Moscow State University of Psychology & Education, State professional educational establishment Complex «South-West»,Psychologist, school psychologist, the structural subdivision "Sevastopol", Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:



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