Empathic Perspective Taking in Family Relationships: A Social Relations Analysis

F. Giorgia Paleari, Francesca Giorgia Paleari, Semira Tagliabue, Margherita Lanz

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in libroChapter

3 Citazioni (Scopus)


Empathy has been found to facilitate a variety of prosocial phenomena that foster healthy and satisfying family relationships. Experiencing empathy towards the spouse positively predicts marital forgiveness, accommodation, support and adjustment whereas parental empathy is positively associated with psychological well-being and adjustment of children. Nonetheless, little research has explored the supposed pro-relationship effects of parental, filial, or fraternal empathy, and in particular perspective taking, in intact non- clinical families. The possibility that a more or less empathic climate may be present within each family and may affect the family as a whole has been relatively neglected too. The present study addressed these shortcomings by investigating empathic perspective taking and its link to social support within families (n= 108) with two young adults. Data on perspective taking, collected from the four family members (father, mother and two siblings), were first analyzed through the Social Relations Model to disentangle the actor‘s, the partner‘s, the relationship‘s, and the family‘s contributions to perspective taking. In view of the existing literature showing that perceived support can be partitioned in different components (individual, relational, and group level) and that each component explains different percentage of variance of perceived support, we investigated the relation of the above contributions to perspective taking with the different components of perceived support. Results showed that empathic perspective taking towards family members was mainly informed by the actor‘s individual characteristics and secondly by the relationship‘s and family‘s ones. The two family effects for perspective taking andsupport strongly correlated, indicating that families with an highly empathic climate among its members perceived an highly supportive climate within them, and vice versa. The actor effects for perspective taking were correlated with the partner effects for perceived support except for mothers, suggesting that the individual ability to understand the other family members‘ perspective was significantly associated with the extent to which the other family members perceived him/her as supportive. Finally, the correlations between relationship effects in horizontal relationships were significant, meaning that the more one family member uniquely understands another‘s perspective the more the other uniquely perceives him/her as supportive and vice versa. Results have been discussed within the existing literature.
Lingua originaleEnglish
Titolo della pubblicazione ospitePsychology of Empathy
Numero di pagine18
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2011

Serie di pubblicazioni

NomePsychology of Emotions, Motivations and Actions


  • Empathy
  • Family


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