The Relationship between the Ability to Empathy and Value-Semantic Orientation in Schoolchildren and Students

291

Abstract

Objective. To identify the relationship between value-semantic orientations and the ability to empathize among high school students and university students.
Background. The ability to show empathy is an important factor in interpersonal and intergroup interaction. In the context of the total digitalization of society and the consequences of partial deprivation from direct interpersonal interaction during the pandemic years, schoolchildren and students tend to reduce empathy. Understanding the connections between empathic abilities and the value-semantic sphere of the personality is necessary for the development of adequate socio-psychological means of developing the skills of prosocial interaction among students.
Study design. The relationship between value-semantic orientations and empathy abilities among high school students and first-year university students was studied, taking into account their integral intragroup status. The presence and nature of the relationship were checked using correlation, multiple regression and discriminant data analysis.
Participants. Moscow secondary schools (88 (48%) girls and 96 (52%) boys) and 192 (51%) university students in Moscow (109 (57%) girls and 83 (43%) boys). The total sample was 376 people aged 16 to 19. Measurements. To study the value-semantic sphere of the respondents, the method “Value Orientations” by M. Rokeach, the test “Meaningful Orientations” by D.A. Leontiev. Empathy was analyzed using the Interpersonal Reactivity Index questionnaire (M. Davis, adapted by T.D. Karyagina, N.A. Budagovskaya, S.V. Dubrovskaya). To determine the intragroup integral status of the respondents, the proposed by M.Yu. Kondratiev methodological algorithm for determining the integral intra-group status of a member of the contact community.
Results. Positive connections between the empathic ability indicators and the importance of prosocial values of students were revealed. In high school students the index of empathic personal distress is positively connected with the value of friendly relationships. The higher the students’ locus of control – self and locus of control – life scores, the lower the empathic personality distress. Predictors of empathic abilities in high school and college students are developed sense-life orientations and personal values reflecting positive attitude toward people (“sensitivity”, “tolerance”, “happiness of others”, etc.). Personally oriented values (“pleasure”, “self-control” etc.) are blockers of empathy. Predictors of the division of students into status categories in high school students are “empathic empathy” and the values “sensitivity” and “nurturance”, and in students – “empathic care” and the values “sensitivity”, “freedom”, “tolerance”.
Conclusions. The more significant for high school and college students are values characterizing altruism and acceptance of others, and the higher the indicators of life meaningfulness, the more developed are empathic abilities. Among the predictors of empathic abilities in high school and college students we studied, the main ones are indicators of meaningful life orientations and values of acceptance of others. Individual-oriented values are blockers of empathy. Predictors of students’ division into status categories are empathic abilities and values of acceptance of others: the higher the indicators of empathy and prosocial values, the lower the probability of low status. Consequently, high school and college students give preference to peers with pronounced empathic abilities, which indicates the high importance of empathy for building favorable interpersonal relationships and achieving social success.

General Information

Keywords: integral status; personal values; high school students; students; value-semantic orientations; meaningful life orientations; empathy; empathic abilities

Journal rubric: Empirical Research

Article type: scientific article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.17759/sps.2023140305

Received: 19.04.2023

Accepted:

For citation: Anisimova E.V., Krushelnitskaya O.B. The Relationship between the Ability to Empathy and Value-Semantic Orientation in Schoolchildren and Students. Sotsial'naya psikhologiya i obshchestvo = Social Psychology and Society, 2023. Vol. 14, no. 3, pp. 64–84. DOI: 10.17759/sps.2023140305. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)

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Information About the Authors

Ekaterina V. Anisimova, Head of the Sector of Psychological Support of the Department for Educational and Social Work, Educational Psychologist, Moscow State University of Psychology & Education, Moscow, Russia, ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7060-602X, e-mail: anisimovaev@mgppu.ru

Olga B. Krushelnitskaya, PhD in Psychology, Associate Professor, Head of the Department of Theoretical Foundations of Social Psychology, Moscow State University of Psychology and Education, Moscow, Russia, ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0762-6925, e-mail: krushelnickayaob@mgppu.ru

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