Date

3-1-2018

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

Master of Science

Department

Psychology

First Adviser

Deborah Laible

Abstract

Previous work suggests that feelings of empathic anger in adults produce motivations to both assist victimized others and to punish the aggressors responsible for harming the injured party. Little developmental work has been done exploring the occurrence and effects of empathic anger in younger age groups. The current study sought to identify trait-level predictors of empathic anger responses in adults and adolescents, and to determine whether empathic anger made unique contributions to helping and punishing motivations among each age group. Trait empathy and perspective taking failed to predict empathic anger responses in adolescents and adults, though trait anger emerged as a significant predictor in both age groups. Empathic anger significantly predicted helping desires among adults and adolescents, but did not predict punishing desires among either age group. Future work could expand upon these findings by extending them to younger samples.

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