“The relationship between empathy, self-efficacy and pro-social behavior in college students”
I am very exultant and thankful to Allah Almighty (the God of all the Creatures and Universe) on completing this very thesis which has been a strenuous task for me. I might not have been able to carry out this enormous obligation without helping hands of my dear ones. In this regard, I am very grateful to the whole institute staff including computer lab incharge, library incharge and testing lab incharge because of their great help in the completion of this research work. I am most grateful to the Director of the institute Professor because of her guidance here in the institute. I am also very much grateful to my supervisor and always a kind teacher, Dr. whose precise guidance and clear directions made me able to fulfill this task.
I am also very thankful to all the authors who permit to use their scales in my research. I appreciate the participants of my study who spared time and for their high cooperation. I am also very thankful to College Principals who had allowed me to conduct research in his area and facilitating me.
During this work, enormous encouragements and prayer of my beloved and affectionate parents have been always with me. Their presence has been a great push for me to face all the hardships which came my way. I am affably grateful to all my colleagues.
The love, care and support of all above mentioned dear ones has brought the completion of this research. Thank you all..!!
Table of Contents
Table of contents iv
List of tables’ vii
List of Abbreviations and Symbols viii
List of Appendices ix
1.1 Introduction 1
- 1.1.1 Prosocial Behavior 1
- 18.104.22.168 Defining Prosocial Behavior 1
- 22.214.171.124 Types of Prosocial Behavior 3
- 126.96.36.199 Factors leading to Prosocial Behavior 5
- 188.8.131.52 Prosocial Behavior and altruism 5
- 184.108.40.206 Gender differences in prosocial behavior 6
- 220.127.116.11 Prosocial behavior as a well-adjusted behavior 6
- 18.104.22.168 Cultural differences in prosocial behavior 6
- 22.214.171.124 Mood and prosocial behavior 7
1.2.2 Empathy 8
- 1.2.1 Defining Empathy 8
- 1.2.2 Trait versus State Empathy 8
- 1.2.3 Theory of Empathy 10
- 1.2.4 Development of Empathy 10
- 1.2.5 Empathy versus Sympathy 11
- 1.2.6. Types and levels of empathy 11
- 1.2.7 Factors of Empathy 12
1.3.3 Self-Efficacy 14
- 126.96.36.199 Defining Self-Efficacy 14
- 188.8.131.52 Different aspects of Self-Efficacy 16
- 184.108.40.206 Generality of Self-Efficacy 17
- 220.127.116.11 Academic and Emotional Self-Efficacy 18
- 18.104.22.168 Sources of Self-Efficacy 19
1.3.4 Summary 21
2.1 Literature Review 22
- 2.1.1 Empathy and Prosocial Behavior 22
- 2.1.2 Self-Efficacy and Prosocial Behavior 23
- 2.1.3 Empathy and its impact on Prosocial Behavior 25
- 2.1.4 Empathy making Self-Efficacy Beliefs 27
- 2.1.5 Indigenous Researches 28
- 2.1.6 Summary 29
- 2.1.8 Rationale of the Study 29
- 2.1.7 Hypothesis 29
3.1 Method 31
- 3.1.1 Research Design 31
- 3.1.2 Sample 31
- 22.214.171.124 Inclusion Criteria 31
- 126.96.36.199 Exclusion Criteria 31
3.1.3 Operational Definitions 33
- 188.8.131.52 Empathy 33
- 184.108.40.206 Self-Efficacy 33
- 220.127.116.11 Prosocial Behavior 33
3.1.4 Measures 33
- 18.104.22.168 Demographical Information Questionnaire 33
- 22.214.171.124 Interpersonal Reactivity Index (IRI) 33
- 126.96.36.199 Generalized Self-Efficacy Scale 34
- 188.8.131.52 Prosocial Tendencies Measure (PTM) 34
- 3.1.5 Procedure 35
- 3.1.6 Ethical Considerations 35
- 4.1 Results 37
- 4.2 Analysis 37
- 4.3 Summary of Findings 44
- 5.1 Discussion 45
- 5.2 Conclusion 47
- 5.3 Limitations 48
- 5.4 Implications 48
- 5.5 Suggestions 48
- REFERENCES 50
List of Tables
Table 1 – Frequency table of Demographic Variables for the Study (N=120)
Table 2 – Mean, Standard Deviations and Maximum Scores of the Study Variables (N=120)
Table 3 – Pearson Product Movement Correlation among Study Variables (N=120)
Table 4 – Cronbach’s Alpha Reliability table of the Study Scales and Sub scales
Table 5 – Step wise Regression Analysis to find out Predictors of Prosocial Behavior of College Students (N=120)
Table 6 – Family Differences in Prosocial Behavior of College Students (N=120)
Table 7 – Educational Differences of Prosocial Behavior of College Students (N=120)
Table 8 – Differences of Father Mother Education of Prosocial Behavior of College Students (N=120)
List of Abbreviation and Symbols
- α Cronbach’s Alpha Index of Internal Consistency
- β Beta; Standardized Multiple Regression Coefficient
- df Degree of Freedom
- f Frequency
- M Average Arithmetic Mean
- N Total Number of Sample
- % Percentage
- P Level of Significance
- SD Standard Deviation
- IRI Interpersonal Reactivity Index
- PTM Prosocial Tendencies Measure
List of Appendices
- Appendix A Permission from the Authors of the Scales
- Appendix B Institutional Permission
- Appendix C Consent Form
- Appendix D Plagiarism Report
The aim of the present study was to examine the relationship amongst empathy, self-efficacy and prosocial behavior in college students. It was hypothesized that there was likely to be a relationship between empathy, self-efficacy and prosocial behavior in college students. The sample size consisted of (N=120) college students both males and females. Cross sectional research design was used. Four scales were used “Demographical information tool”, “Interpersonal Reactivity Index (IRI)” (Davis, 1983), “The Generalized Self-Efficacy Scale (GSE)”(Schwarzer, 1992) and “Prosocial Tendencies Measure (PTM)” (Gustavo & Brandy, 2001).Pearson Product Momentcorrelation was used to find out the relationship between study variables. Independent sample t-test was employed to find out the gender differences in male and female students. One way ANOVA was also employed as an additional analysis to check out the parental educational effect on the empathy, self-efficacy and prosocial behavior of college students. The results revealed that there was significant positive correlation between empathy, self-efficacy and prosocial behavior in college students.
Prosocial behavior represents positive social feelings and inclusiveness, including cooperation, sharing, helping, providing leadership, expressing empathy, providing verbal support or encouragement, and general friend lines or kindness. There are a variety of types of behaviors viewed as indicating prosocial activity, but the research tends to grave it towards cooperative and helping behaviors and typically does not include general social civility or considerateness (Veronne&ldwel, 1997).
The present study investigates the relationship between empathy, self-efficacy and pro-social behavior in college students. The current study focuses on the role of empathy and self-efficacy in making pro-social behavior of the individuals and the main focus of the current study is to find out the relationship among the study variables. The current study also explores the gender differences among empathy, self-efficacy and pro-social behavior in college students.
1.1 Pro-social Behavior
The close interpersonal relationship between parents and children serve as a positive resource and enhance prosocial behavior (Dekovic & Janassenss, 1992). Parents, friends are also important socialization members of prosocial behavior.The children who observe their friends around their environment were more engaging in prosocial behavior (Bryan &Walbek, 1970). The development of prosocial behavior have shown that this type of behavior develops with empathy (Eisenberg & Fabes, 1998).
1.1.2 Defining the prosocial behavior
Prosocial behavior can be defined as sympathetic, helpful and considerate behavior towards other people with the intention of actively establishing and maintaining positive relationships among members of a social group (Hastings & Rubin, 2005).
Prosocial behavior is also defined as “voluntary actions that are Involving help or benefit another peoples or group of individuals” (Eisenberg &Mussen, 1989). These prosocial behaviors comprise a large number of activities, like sorrow sharing, giving hand to needy people, comforting, and helping. Although prosocial behavior is separated term with altruism, these are two different terms. “Prosocial behavior simply refers to helping the others, whereas altruism is defined as to help others without any benefit” (Knickerbocker, 2004).
Prosocial behavior is a broader term that deals with all activities that are benefits to other people in society or outside (Pilliavin, Dovidio, Gaertner& Clark, 1981).
Prosocial behavior, or “voluntary behavior intended to benefit another, is a social behavior that benefit other people or society as a whole, such as helping, sharing, donating, co-operating, and volunteering. These actions may be motivated by empathy and by concern about the welfare and rights of others,as well as for egoistic or practical concerns. Evidence suggests that prosocially is central to the well-being of social groups across a range of scales.Empathy is a strong motive in eliciting prosocial behavior, and has deep evolutionary roots(Knickerbocker, 2004).
Females are more prosocially than men and involved in relationships as expressed in being helpful and cooperative as well as sharing and consoling (Bandura, 2003). Prosocial behavior has three levels for analysis: micro, meso and macro. The micro level of analysis is focuses with the origins of prosocial tendencies in humans. The meso level of analysis focuses to studying or observes the behaviors of helper within the context of a speciﬁc situation. The macro level of analysis refers to the prosocial actions that are produced within the context of groups of people and large organizations (Dovidio & Penner, 2001).
Prosocial behavior fosters positive traits that are beneficial for children and society. It may be motivated both by altruism and by self-interest, for reasons of immediate benefit or future reciprocity. Evolutionary psychologists use theories such as kin-selection theory and inclusive fitness as an explanation for why prosocial behavioral tendencies are passed down generationally, according to the evolutionary fitness displayed by those who engaged in prosocial acts.Encouraging prosocial behavior may also require decreasing or eliminating undesirable social behaviors(Knickerbocker, 2004).
People may provide each other with help, otherwise termed prosocial behavior, for a variety of reasons. Some of these reasons may be egoistic (selfishly motivated) or altruistic (selflessly motivated). Egoistic models of prosocial behavior include the influences of existing negative mood, the desire to improve one’s mood, and the relative costs and benefits of helping. Being in a negative mood, having no desire to improve one’s mood, and perceiving more costs than benefits tend to decrease helping(Bandura, 2003).
Altruistic models of prosocial behavior include the influences of empathy, nurturing feelings toward the target, and a goal to promote the target’s welfare on the likelihood of helping behavior. Each of these factors tends to increase helping (Bandura, 2003).
1.1.3 Types of prosocial behavior
Prosocial behavior can be divided into three categories, altruism, helping, and cooperation. Helping activities do not have constraints with respect to the intention or outcome of the prosocial act. On the other hand altruism which main goal is to serving the others. Cooperation means positive outcomes for both parties, unlike altruism or helping (Gaertner & Clark, 1981).
- 184.108.40.206 Prosocial behavior and altruism
Prosocial behavior refers to “voluntary actions that are intended to help or benefit another individual or group of individuals” (Eisenberg & Mussen, 1989). This definition refers to consequences of a doer’s actions rather than the motivations behind those actions. These behaviors include a broad range of activities, sharing, comforting, rescuing, and helping. Though prosocial behavior can be confused with altruism, they are, in fact, two distinct concepts. Prosocial behavior refers to a pattern of activity, whereas, altruism is the motivation to help others out of pure regard for their needs rather than how the action will benefit oneself. A familiar example of altruism is when an individual makes an anonymous donation to a person, group or institution without any resulting recognition, political or economic gain, here, the donation is the prosocial action and the altruism is what motivates the doer to action (Roberta, 2005)
1.1.4 Theories of prosocial behavior
Bandura(2003) describes several major theories of prosocial behavior.
- Social exchange
B. Social norms
D. Evolutionary psychology
|Theory||Level of Explanation||Nonreciprocal Helping Behavior||Reciprocal Helping Behavior||Problem|
|Social exchange||Psychological||A. Cost-benefit analysis (bystander calculus)|
B. Reducing distress (negative state reliefC. Positively reinforcing oneself
D. Avoiding guilt (self-punishment)
E. Anticipated positive reinforcement from others
|Empathy-altruism||Psychological||Empathy arousal||Possible egoistic motive|
|Social norms||Sociological||Kin selection|
|Sociological||Social responsibility norm||Reciprocity norm||Rules applied selectively|
|Evolutionary psychology (sociobiology)||Biological||Kin selection||Reciprocal benefit||A. Prosocial genes not identified|
B. Mimimizes role of learning and culture.
1.1.5 Factors leading to prosocial behavior
There are several factors that lead to prosocial behavior.
- 220.127.116.11 Prosocial behavior and age
Prosocial behaviors are helping behaviors made with the intention of benefiting others (Eisenberg &Fabes, 1998). Prosocial behavior is often occurring with psychological and social rewards for its performer (Eisenberg &Fabes, 1998) meta-analysis found that prosocial behavior develop in the context of age and increase varied in size. prosocial behavior increased with age and its developmental increases in cognitive abilities related with perceiving others’ needs and deciding the ways to help, in empathy associated responding, and in the moral understanding of the importance of helping others (Esenberg, 2006).
- 18.104.22.168 Prosocial behavior and altruism
Prosocial behavior refers to “voluntary actions that are intended to help or benefit another individual or group of individuals” (Eisenberg &Mussen, 1989). This definition refers to consequences of a doer’s actions rather than the motivations behind those actions. These behaviors include a broad range of activities, sharing, comforting, rescuing, and helping. Though prosocial behavior can be confused with altruism, they are, in fact, two distinct concepts. Prosocial behavior refers to a pattern of activity, whereas, altruism is the motivation to help others out of pure regard for their needs rather than how the action will benefit oneself. A familiar example of altruism is when an individual makes an anonymous donation to a person, group or institution without any resulting recognition, political or economic gain, here, the donation is the prosocial action and the altruism is what motivates the doer to action (Roberta, 2005)
- 22.214.171.124 Gender differences in prosocial behavior
Prosocial behavior is also predicted by Gender and culture. A meta-analysis found little differences favoring girls in prosocial behavior, smaller than expected based on gender stereotypes and lower for instrumental help than for other prosocial behaviors (Eisenberg & Fabes, 1998).Some evidence reports that children in Western societies are less prosocial than children in other cultures, but some studies find no differences along these lines (Eisenberg, 2006). A study conducted by Levine, Norenzayan, and Philbrick (2004) reports that there are large cultural differences in naturally helping strangers.
Bandura(2003) found gender differences in which females were shown to be more prosocially involved in relationships as expressed in being helpful and cooperative as well as sharing and consoling.
Females are more prosocially than men and involved in relationships as expressed in being helpful and cooperative as well as sharing and consoling (Bandura, 2003).Prosocial behavior has three levels for analysis: micro, meso and macro. The micro level of analysis is focuses with the origins of prosocial tendencies in humans. The meso level of analysis focuses to studying or observes the behaviors of helper within the context of a speciﬁc situation. The macro level of analysis refers to the prosocial actions that are produced within the context of groups of people and large organizations (Dovidio&Penner, 2001).
- 126.96.36.199 Environmental and genetic factors associated with prosocial behavior
Environmental factors associated to individual differences in children’s prosociality include parental style of helping behavior and use of inductive rules e.g., explaining to children the consequences of their behavior (Eisenberg &Fabes, 1998). Parental affects, siblings, peers, and schools also may affect prosociality. For example, as Wentzel, McNamara and Caldwell (1996) conclude that, children’s prosociality may be affected by close friends. Furthermore, the better the affective quality of the friendship, the more influential friends are to each other’s prosociality.
Genetics also play important role in prosociality Knafo and Plomin (2006) said that in adult’s reports that prosociality is heritable. Research on young children reports lower heritability, demonstrated by one longitudinal twin study showing increases in the heritability of parent-rated prosociality, from 30 percent at age 2 to 60 percent at age 7 (Knafo&Plomin, 2006).
- 188.8.131.52 Prosocial behavior as a well-adjusted behavior
Clark and Ladd (2004) reported that children who have prosocial behavior are relatively well adjusted and have good peer relationships good friends than less prosocial children. Highly prosocial children have more friends and report a better quality of friendship, relative to less prosocial children.Caprara and colleagues (2003) find good relationships between children’s who has prosocial behavior and later academic achievement, and positive peer relations (statistically controlling for earlier achievement).
- 184.108.40.206 Cultural differences in prosocial behavior
It might seem as though people with an interdependent view of the self, who come from collectivist cultures, would be more likely to help a person in need. However, people everywhere are less likely to help a member of an out group, a group with which the person does not identify, than a member of an in group, the group with which the person identifies and feels he or she is a member. Cultural factors come into play in determining how strongly people draw the line between in-groups and out-groups. People in collectivist cultures may draw a firmer line between in-groups and out-groups and be more likely to help in-group members and less likely to help out-group members, than people from individualistic cultures, who have an independent view of the self(Zahn-Waxler&Radke-Yarrow, 1990)
- 220.127.116.11 Mood and prosocial behavior
Arthur and Stephan (1986) explored that the Mood and prosocial behavior are closely linked. People often experience the “feel good-do good” phenomena, where being in a good mood increases helping behaviors. Being in a good mood helps us to see the “good” in other people, and prolongs our own good mood. For example, mood and work behaviors have frequently been examined in research; studies show that positive mood at work is associated with more positive work-related behaviors (helping co-workers). Similarly, prosocial behaviors increase positive mood. Several studies have shown the benefits of volunteering and other prosocial behaviors on self-esteem, life satisfaction, and overall mental health. Additionally, negative mood can also impact prosocial behavior negative mood states, such as fear; do not lead to the same prosocial behaviors.
1.2.1 Defining Empathy
“Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another”.
AsForster said, “Live not in separation.” It is empathy that joins us together with each other. Without empathy, we would be like ants or fish or animals or lizards, aware of each other as bodies in space, but with no sense at all of the inner lives of each other (Rick Hanson, 2007).
“Empathy is a fundamental building block for positive growth and development” (Zahn-Waxler&Radke-Yarrow, 1990).
1.2.2 Trait versus State
Duan and Hill (1996) cited in a litany of scholars e.g., Buie (1981), Sawyer (1975), Hogan (1969), Rogers (1957), Ianotti (1975), and Davis (1983) who argue that empathy is a disposition or orientation. Work and Olsen (1990), in their investigation of the efficacy of a social problem-solving curriculum, implicitly revealed their understanding of empathy as a quality of an individual. While Wilson and colleagues (Wilson, Linz, Federman, Smith, Paul, Nathanson, Donnerstein, &Lingweiler, 1999) conceptualized empathy as an emotional reaction in a particular situation, they also identified empathy as a trait or a more stable personality characteristic and measured trait empathy.
According to some scholars, there are two types of empathy affective and Cognitive. According to Duan and Hill (1996) review, an affective empathic state has been found to mediate helping behavior and a cognitive empathic state has been found to alter the pattern of attribution of others behavior (e.g., Gould &Sigall, 1977; Regan & Totten, 1975). However, the relationship between these two types of empathy is not yet clear Davis, Hull, Young, and Warren (1987).
While Hoffman (2000) simple definition of empathy an effective response more appropriate to another’s situation than one’s own. Zillmann (1991) operated likewise. He first articulated a precise emotional process devoid of cognitive components: Empathy, then, may be defined as any experience that is a response (a) to information about circumstances presumed to cause acute emotions in another individual and (b) to the facial and bodily expression of emotional experiences of another individual and/or (c) to another individuals behaviors presumed to be precipitated by acute emotional experiences, that (d) is associated with an appreciable increase in excitation, and that (e) respondents construe as feeling with or feeling for another individual (Hoffman, 2000).
Hoffman (2000) posited that moral principles stabilize empathic affect and so assure appropriateness of response, decreasing the likelihood of compromise by empathic over-arousal or under-arousal (Hoffman, 2000). Empathy may facilitate the cognitive appraisals and emotional assessments upon which morality depends (Turiel& Killen, 2010). Gibbs (2003) asserted that both sympathy and justice (in the form of one of its fundaments, ideal reciprocity) motivated a commonly cited example of prosocial behavior likewise, Hoffman (2000) suggested that empathy “may provide the motive to rectify violations of justice to others.
1.2.3 Theory of Empathy
Preston and de Wall (2002) said that stimulation theory of empathy is a theory that holds that humans anticipate and make sense of the behavior of others by activating mental processes that, if carried into action, would produce similar behavior. This includes intentional behavior as well as the expression of emotions. The theory states that children use their own emotions to predict what others will do. Therefore, we project our own mental states onto others. Simulation theory is not primarily a theory of empathy, but rather a theory of how people understand others that they do so by way of a kind of empathetic response. This theory uses more biological evidence than other theories of mind, such as the theory suggested (Preston and de Wall, 2002).
1.2.4 Development of empathy
Empathy is sensitive to both human development and contextual factors. Some scholars posit that empathic potential is inborn humans are hard-wired to connect (Goleman, 2006). Experiments with newborns demonstrated that within their first few hours of life, infant’s exhibit mimicry of distress, crying in response to a fellow baby’s wails (Sagi& Hoffman, 1976). As people mature and gain control over executive functioning, their empathic capacity also develops (Sagi& Hoffman, 1976).
Hoffman (2000) articulated five distinctly different modes of empathic arousal. These include three that are preverbal, automatic and essentially involuntary, motor mimicry and afferent feedback, classical conditioning, direct association of cues from the victim or his situation with one’s own painful past experience. There are two higher order cognitive modes, mediated association, that is, association of expressive cues from the victim or cues from the victims situation with one’s own painful past experience, where the association is mediated by semantic processing of information from or about the victim and role or perspective-taking, in which one imagines how the victim feels or how one would feel in the victims situation (Hoffman, 2000).
Wilson and Cantor (1985) explored developmental differences in empathy with a television protagonist’s fear and indeed discovered that 3- to 5-year-olds reacted differently than 9- to 11-year-olds. They found that the younger children’s cognitive limitation specifically, their failure to recognize the nature of the characters emotion and perhaps their failure to role-take diminished the extent to which they reacted emotionally as compared to older children. Since this appeared most strongly as a “between groups” as opposed to “within group” result, it suggests that, at least among children, empathic responding is a function of cognitive developmental capacity (Wilson & Cantor, 1985).
1.2.5 Empathy versus Sympathy
Empathy is the ability to mutually experience the thoughts, emotions, and direct experience of others. It goes beyond sympathy, which is a feeling of care and understanding for the suffering of othersHoffman (2000).
1.2.6 Types and levels of Empathy
According to the Hornbook, Grace and Grace (2009) described different types of empathy. These are the 10 levels of the empathy;
- Psychometric ability to receive energy, power, information and impressions from stimulus, photographs or places.
- Telepathy, the ability to read people’s thoughts and mind. Medium ship, the capacity to feel the presence and energies of spirits.
- Physical Healing, the empathic ability to feel other people’s physical symptoms in your own body.
- Emotional Healing, the potential to feel another person’s emotions.
- Animal Communication, the empathic capacity to hear, feel and communicate with animals.
- Nature, the empathic ability to read, feel and communicate with nature.
- Geomancy, the capacity to read the energy of places and of the land.
- Geomancers can feel the energies of the Earth, such as Ley lines. They can also hear and feel headaches, pain or anxiety before earthquakes or other disasters occur anywhere on the planet.
- Precognition, the potential to feel when something important is about to happen.
- Clair cognizance or Knowing, the empathic ability to feel what needs to be done in any given circumstance, often accompanied by a feeling of peace and calm, even in the midst of a crisis(Hornbook, Grace & Grace, 2009).
1.2.7 Contributors to Empathy Development
- 18.104.22.168 Genetic Factors
Zahn-Waxler(1992) suggested that both genetic and environmental components were implicated in the development of empathy. In this study, young children’s responses to simulated distress were measured in monozygotic (“identical”) and dizygotic (“fraternal”) twins at 14 and 20 months of age. The premise of this study design is that the degree to which the correlation in empathy levels is greater among monozygotic than dizygotic twins reflects the impact of heredity. Significant heritability estimates were found at 14 months for different types of empathic responses, including prosocial behavior, empathic concern, hypothesis testing, and unresponsive-indifferent behavior (Zahn-Waxler, 1992).
- 22.214.171.124 Neuro developmental Factors
There are several areas of the brain implicated in empathic behavior and empathy development. Studies of macaque monkeys have revealed a special class of motor neurons, referred to as mirror neurons, which respond similarly to the perception of actions in others and the production of actions in oneself (Gallese et. al., 2009; Iacoboni&Dapretto, 2006). There is evidence, albeit less direct, that the human brain contains a similar mirror neuron system, which lies in premotor and surrounding areas of the frontal and parietal lobes (Iacoboni, 2008). On their own, mirror neurons and the mirror neuron system are not responsible for empathic feelings; rather, they are thought to provide a neural basis for connecting our own and others’ experiences. The importance of the function of mirror neurons in the development of empathy is highlighted in the Perception-Action Model of empathy proposed by the theorist de Waal.
- 126.96.36.199 Temperament
Temperament is comprised of a variety of attributes that form the early basis for personality development. As temperament is thought to be present from birth and thus have biological foundations, individual differences in empathy based on temperament may, in part, reflect genetic influences on empathy development. Rothbart and colleagues (1994) found that fearfulness in infants predicted parent reported empathic concern when the children reached school age.
- 188.8.131.52 Parent-Child Relationship Quality
The previous studies discussed that parenting factors that appear to influence empathy development are indices of the quality of the parent-child relationship. Another measure of relationship quality is the security of a child’s attachment to their parent. Attachment security is typically measured with the Strange Situation procedure, during which the children’s reactions to a series of separations from and reunions with their parent are assessed (Ainsworth et al., 1978). Securely attached children display behaviors consistent with a trusting, loving relationship with their parent. These typically include being upset by the parent’s absence and being calmed by the parent’s presence, and feeling comfortable enough to explore their surroundings (Ainsworth et al., 1978).
Self-efficacy beliefs are decisions about how effectively a person believes he or she can act in order to meet a goal or to cope effectively with puzzling states. These beliefs more related to the people’s perceptions of their own capabilities rather than actual abilities, a vast literature attests to the pervasive influence that self-efficacy exerts on individuals’ performance and achievement in various tasks (Bandura, 1997). Self-efficacy beliefs effects in many field of life as, self-regulative standards adopted by people, the amount of effort they spend, and the choices they make at crucial points in their life. They are not static traits, but rather dynamic concepts that can be enhanced through mastery experiences and learning (Bandura, 1997).
1.3.1 Defining Self-efficacy
Self-efficacy refers to people’s perceptions of their ability to achieve desired goals by applying their knowledge to specific tasks (Bandura, 1986).
Self-efficacy refers to people’s judgments about their capability to perform particular tasks. Task-related self-efficacy increases the effort and persistence towards challenging tasks; therefore, increasing the likelihood that they will be completed (Barling& Beattie, 1983).
Self-efficacy beliefs are an important aspect of human motivation and behavior as well as influence the actions that can affect one’s life. Regarding self-efficacy, (Bandura, 1995) explains that it “refers to beliefs in one’s capabilities to organize and execute the courses of action required to manage prospective situations”. More simply, self-efficacy is what an individual believes he or she can accomplish using his or her skills under certain circumstances (Snyder & Lopez, 2007). Self-efficacy has been thought to be a task-specific version of self-esteem (Lunenburg, 2011). The basic principle behind Self-Efficacy Theory is that individuals are more likely to engage in activities for which they have high self-efficacy and less likely to engage in those they do not (Bijl&Baggett, 2002).
According to (Gecas,2004) people behave in the way that executes their initial beliefs; thus, self-efficacy functions as a self-fulfilling prophecy. For example, Employee A has high ability and a great deal of experience in creating graphs, but does not have confidence that he can create a high quality graph for an important conference. Employee B has only average ability and only a small amount of experience in creating graphs, yet has great confidence that she can work hard to create a high quality graph for the same conference. Because of Employee as low self-efficacy for graph creation, he lacks the motivation to create one for the conference and tells his supervisor he cannot complete the task. Employee B, due to her high self-efficacy, is highly motivated, works overtime to learn how to create a high quality graph, presents it during the conference, and earns a promotion (Gecas, 2004).
Self-efficacy has influence over people’s ability to learn, their motivation and their performance, as people will often attempt to learn and perform only those task for which they believe they will be successful (Lunenburg, 2011).
“Mastery experiences are the most influential source of efficacy information because they provide the most authentic evidence of whether one can muster whatever it takes to succeed. Success builds a robust belief in one’s personal efficacy. Failures undermine it, especially if failures occur before a sense of efficacy is firmly established (Bandura, 1997)
1.3.2 Different Aspects of Self-Efficacy
Vicarious Experiences: People can develop high or low self-efficacy vicariously through other people’s performances. A person can watch another perform and then compare his own competence with the other individual’s competence (Bandura, 1977).
If a person sees someone similar to them succeed, it can increase their self-efficacy. However, the opposite is also true; seeing someone similar fail can lower self-efficacy. An example of how vicarious experiences can increase self-efficacy in the work place is through mentoring programs, where one individual is paired with someone on a similar career path who will be successful at raising the individual’s self-efficacy beliefs. An example of how the opposite can be true is in a smoking cessation program, where, if individuals witness several people fail to quit, they may worry about their own chances of success, leading to low self-efficacy for quitting (Bandura, 1977).
Verbal Persuasion: According to (Redmond, 2010) self-efficacy is also influenced by encouragement and discouragement pertaining to an individual’s performance or ability to perform; such as a manager telling an employee, “Can you do it. I think you can do it.” Using verbal persuasion in a positive light leads individuals to put forth more effort; therefore, they have a greater chance at succeeding. However, if the verbal persuasion is negative, such as a manager saying to the employee, “This is unacceptable! I thought you could handle this project” can lead to doubts about one self-resulting in lower chances of success. Also, the level of credibility directly influences the effectiveness of verbal persuasion; where there is more credibility; there will be a greater influence. In the example above, a pep talk by a manager who has an established, respectable position would have a stronger influence than that of a newly hired manager. Although verbal persuasion is also likely to be a weaker source of self-efficacy beliefs than performance outcomes, it is widely used because of its ease and ready availability (Redmond, 2010).
Physiological Feedback (emotional arousal): People experience sensations from their body and how they perceive this emotional arousal influences their beliefs of efficacy (Bandura, 1977). Some examples of physiological feedback are: giving a speech in front of a large group of people, making a presentation to an important client, taking an exam, etc. All of these tasks can cause agitation, anxiety, sweaty palms, and/or a racing heart (Redmond, 2010). Although this source is the least influential of the four, it is important to note that if one is more at ease with the task at hand they will feel more capable and have higher beliefs of self-efficacy.Judgments of self-efficacy are generally measured along three basic scales: magnitude, strength, and generality (Bandura, 1977).
Self-efficacy magnitude: measures the difficulty level (e.g. easy, moderate, and hard) an individual feels is required to perform a certain task (Bijl&Baggett, 2002).
Self-efficacy strength: refers to the amount of conviction an individual has about performing successfully at diverse levels of difficulty. How confident am I that I can excel at my work tasks (Bijl& Baggett, 2002).
1.3.3 Generality of Self-efficacy
The basic idea behind the Self-Efficacy Theory is that performance and motivation are in part determined by how effective people believe they can be (Bandura, 1982) as cited in (Redmond, 2010).
Usually, self-efficacy beliefs have been intellectualized as reflecting highly contextualized knowledge that affects appraisal processes, which in turn guide actions. This view has led researchers to emphasize self-efficacy on specific tasks and to pursue a multifaceted approach to the study of the various expressions of self-efficacy across diverse situations. Recently, empirical efforts were made to assess perceived self-efficacy on a broader level than the task-specific level commonly used in prior analyses of self-efficacy beliefs (Caprara, 2002). As people have their own experiences in specific settings, they may have beliefs about their capabilities in various fields of daily activities and functioning, including “clusters” of interrelated circumstances and situations such as self-efficacy beliefs associated with the domains of emotional understanding and interpersonal relationships (Bandura, Caprara, Barbaranelli, Gerbino&Pastorelli, 2003).
Rewarding relationship plays an important role in creating an emotional support with the friends and peers (Coe &Lubach, 2001). Furthermore, empathy is an important predictor of social functioning and contributes to the development of affective bonds, understanding, and caring actions among people. For example, positive relations have been found between empathy or sympathy and children’s or adolescents’ social competence and quality of functioning in friendships (Eisenberg, 1996).
1.3.4 Academic and Emotional self-efficacy
According to (Bandura, 1997)self-efficacy beliefs are best understood as domain-specific. Bandura also views confidence as essentially task-dependent, in contrast to others (Petrides, 2010) who espouse the view that certain personality traits predispose those who possess them to be generally confident. Further, high perceived self-efficacy in cognitive development and functioning leads to academic motivation and performance, as well as an interest in academic ways of thinking (Bandura, 1997). Academic self-efficacy can be explained as the perceived efficacy for self-regulated learning and mastery of various academic matters.
Bandura(1996) found that children who had a high sense of academic self-efficacy behaved more prosocially and were more popular than children with a low sense of academic self-efficacy.
Emotional self-efficacy is a person’s belief in his or her ability to understand and use emotional information (Bandura, 1997).
Furnham and Petrides(2003) argued that people with strong emotional self-efficacy are in touch with their feelings to a greater extent than are others (Petrides, Fredrickson&Furnham, 2003). Further, they have more control over their feelings and are more successful in social contexts (Furnham&Petrides, 2003). According to (Bandura, 2003) high emotional self-efficacy is accompanied by a high sense of efficacy to manage one’s academic development. A strong belief in one’s own capability to adequately respond to others’ feelings and needs, as well as to cope with interpersonal relationships, is critical for promoting successful adaption and well-being (Di Giunta, 2010). High emotional self-efficacy makes it easier to engage oneself with empathy in others’ emotional experiences and resist social pressure to engage in antisocial activities (Bandura, 2003).
1.3.5 Sources of Self-Efficacy
The self-efficacy is developed by these beliefs begin to form in early childhood as children deal with a wide variety of experiences, tasks, and situations. However, the growth of self-efficacy does not end during youth, but continues to evolve throughout life as people acquire new skills, experiences, and understanding (Bandura, 1997).
According to Bandura (1997) there are four major sources of self-efficacy.
- 184.108.40.206 Mastery Experiences
“The most effective way of developing a strong sense of efficacy is through mastery experiences,” Bandura explained. Performing a task successfully strengthens our sense of self-efficacy. However, failing to adequately deal with a task or challenge can undermine and weaken self-efficacy (Bandura, 1997).
- 220.127.116.11 Social Modeling
Witnessing other people successfully completing a task is another important source of self-efficacy. According to Bandura (1997) “Seeing people similar to oneself succeed by sustained effort raises observers’ beliefs that they too possess the capabilities master comparable activities to succeed.”(Bandura, 1997).
- 18.104.22.168 Social Persuasion
Bandura (1997) also asserted that people could be persuaded to believe that they have the skills and capabilities to succeed. Consider a time when someone said something positive and encouraging that helped you achieve a goal. Getting verbal encouragement from others helps people overcome self-doubt and instead focus on giving their best effort to the task at hand.
- 22.214.171.124 Psychological Responses
Our own responses and emotional reactions to situations also play an important role in self-efficacy. Moods, emotional states, physical reactions, and stress levels can all impact how a person feels about their personal abilities in a particular situation. A person who becomes extremely nervous before speaking in public may develop a weak sense of self-efficacy in these situations.
However, Bandura (1994) also notes “it is not the sheer intensity of emotional and physical reactions that is important but rather how they are perceived and interpreted.By learning how to minimize stress and elevate mood when facing difficult or challenging tasks, people can improve their sense of self-efficacy.
Sanmartín and Carbonell(2011) conducted a study. On the one hand, to present/display the Spanish version of diverse instruments that assess Empathy, Prosocial behavior, Aggressiveness, Self-efficacy and Personal and social responsibility, and, on the other hand, to analyze which of these variables could predict responsibility. Participants were 822 pupils, ages 8 to 15 years, who studied in 11 educational centres of the Valencian Community. Measures include Spanish versions of the Index of Empathy for Children and Adolescents, ProsocialBehaviour, and Physical and Verbal Aggression, the Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Self-Efficacy, and the Contextual Self-Responsibility Questionnaire. Through structural equation modelling (SEM), the results showed positive relationships between Prosocialbehaviour, Empathy, Self-efficacy, and Responsibility; and negative relationships between Aggressiveness and Responsibility.
The current study investigated the relationship between empathy, self-efficacy and prosocial behaviors in college students. Many factors are related to the prosocial behavior. For example, Cole and colleagues (2011) described short-term success or achievements for television programs designed to increase children’s prosociality (Penner, Dovidio, Piliavin& Schroeder, 2005).
White (2014) conducted a study to find out that prosocial behaviors are voluntary acts intended to benefit others. Lack of empathy is a core feature of psychopathy, a constellation of personality traits that includes callousness, egocentricity, and antisociality. While psychopathy is often associated with antisocial behavior, its relation to prosociality may depend upon the class of prosocial behavior and facet of psychopathy considered. Public prosocial behavior may be more motivated by extrinsic social rewards than anonymous prosociality, which may be more motivated by empathy and altruistic motives. It was hypothesized that primary psychopathy, especially affective callousness, would be positively and uniquely associated with public prosociality, and inversely associated with anonymous and altruistic prosociality, and that these associations would be mediated by empathy. In contrast, secondary psychopathy was expected to be weakly and inversely associated with all three types of prosocial behavior and with empathy. In an undergraduate student sample (n = 539), unique and interaction effects were tested in hierarchical regression. Predictions were supported for primary psychopathy. Gender did not moderate associations. Theoretical and practical implications are considered (White, 2014).
Paciello, Fida, Cerniglia, Tramontano and Cole (2013) conducted a study to investigate the process that leads people to offer or omit prosocial behavior in response to an explicit request for assistance, taking into account both emotional and cognitive factors. Specifically, a hypothetical scenario methodology was used in a sample of 174 Italian youths (50% males) to examine whether and how factors such as empathy, prosocial moral reasoning and moral disengagement influence the propensity to help when providing assistance is not in the individual’s personal interest. While a few previous studies have included moral disengagement as an antecedent of prosocial decision making, we highlight the significance of this factor in the avoidance of moral responsibility towards others in need. The results highlight two ways in which differences in emotional tendencies and moral-cognitive processes may operate in prosocial decision making in high personal cost situations. First, high empathy levels could promote an altruistic response which in turn fosters mature prosocial moral reasoning. Second, personal distress may enhance moral disengagement mechanisms that may facilitate self-centered behaviors.
Individuals are more likely to provide support in situations that increase personal psychological and material incentives, or where the costs related with not helping are prominent. At last, people are more likely to show prosocially towards similar or likable others (Penner, 2005), and towards others account to be close (Graziano, 2007).
Rushton (1990) reported that moderate stability in peoples’ prosocial behavior across varying situations and contexts, demonstrating both consistent individual differences in prosociality and the importance of contextual factors. Research following children from early childhood to adulthood supports the existence of the long-debated altruistic or prosocial personality (Eisenberg, 1999). Individual differences in prosociality are linked to sociability, low shyness, extroversion, and introversion although some prosocial behaviors may need a combination of more traits, as perceived self-efficacy in the case of helping (Penner, 2005).
Observational studies suggest that preschool teachers play important role in increasing prosocial behavior, teachers’ behavior, rules and regulations of school and policies can enhance pro-sociality (Eisenberg, 2006).
Rosmawati and Mohamad (2005) conducted the study to see the relationship between the exposure of films towards the formation of pro-social behavior among the adolescent audiences. The social cognitive theory was used as the theoretical framework through the observational learning construct and acts as the intervening variable. The cross-sectional survey was employed in this research as the research design. Data were collected from the distribution of questionnaire through the stratified random sampling method. There were 1028 respondents involved in the research. The questionnaire was constructed from the combination of self-developed questionnaire and Prosocial Personality Battery (PSB). The analysis through partial correlation test shows a significant positive relationship between exposure to films (r= 0.246, p <.05) and prosocial behaviour by controlling the intervening variable. Based on the multiple-regression test, exposure to films and observational learning are the main predictor factors that contribute to the prosocial behaviour for 28.3 percent.
Zahn-Waxler(1992) and his colleagues have conducted longitudinal studies to see that the development of empathy associated behaviors over the second and third years of life. These studies showed typically developing children’s responses to the simulated distress of a stranger and of their parent, at home and in the field or laboratory. Thy taken the sample between the ages of 14 and 36 months. Some of these behaviors undertake significant development over the second year of life, with age related increases in empathic concern, hypothesis testing, and prosocial behavior between 14 and 24 months of age (Knafo et al. 2008; Zahn-Waxler et al. 1992). In fact, nearly all toddlers’ shows helping behavior in response were real and duplicate anxiety by two years of age. Prosocial behavior developed over the second year of life. The infants who are young their’ responses were consists of physical actions, whereas by 18 to 20 months, toddlers were able to a variety of helping behaviors, as verbal comfort and advice, sharing, and distracting the person in distress (Zahn-Waxler, 1992).
Siyez and Savi (2010) conducted a research. The purpose of this research was to explore the degree of empathy, self-efficacy, and resiliency among first grade counseling students. Participants consisted of 132 students enrolled in guidance and psychological counseling programs at three different universities in Turkey. The participants completed the Interpersonal Reactivity Index, Self-Efficacy Scale, Resiliency Scale and Information Sheet. Results show that most of the participants preferred the department of psychological counseling and guidance in the first row in the university entrance exam. Students’ career preferences differentiated significantly according to gender.
Johnson (2012) conducted a research and suggested that theorists from diverse disciplines purport narrative fiction serves to foster empathic development and growth. In two studies, participants’ subjective, behavioral, and perceptual responses were observed after reading a short fictional story. In study 1, participants who were more transported into the story exhibited higher effective empathy and were more likely to engage in prosocial behavior. In study 2, reading-induced affective empathy was related to greater bias toward subtle, fearful facial expressions, decreased perceptual accuracy of fearful expressions, and a higher likelihood of engaging in prosocial behavior. These effects persisted after controlling for an individual’s dispositional empathy and general tendency to become absorbed in a story. This study provides an important initial step in empirically demonstrating the influence of reading fiction on empathy, emotional perception, and prosocial behavior.
Christopher (2007) was conducting a survey study to test the correlation between empathic concern and 14 diﬀerent prosocial behaviors, including informal help to individuals and formal helping through institutions. Statistically signiﬁcant correlations were found for 10 behaviors, but substantively meaningful correlations were only found for three, all of which were spontaneous, informal helping behaviors, where the individual needing help was directly present. The ﬁndings indicate that empathic concern may not be an important motivator for planned helping decisions and decisions to help others who are not immediately present, such as volunteering, charitable giving, and blood donation. The weak correlation between empathic concern and most helping behaviors indicates that individual diﬀerences in empathic concern may not play much a role in helping decisions.
The study conducted by Susan, Jamie and Anna (2005) examines empathy and gender as predictors of prosocial behavior among African American early adolescents. Two elementary schools in an inner-city public housing community in Chicago participated in this study. The sample consisted of 150 African. American students for whom the researcher included both the students’ and teachers’ data collected. Participants were 64% female (consistent with classroom demographics) with 11 ﬁfth graders, 54 sixth graders, 40 seventh graders, and 45 eighth graders. Results revealed a signiﬁcant main effect for empathy, as well as an interaction between empathy and gender in predicting prosocial behavior. In general, youth with more empathy reported more prosocial behavior, and this effect was more pronounced for males than females. These ﬁndings suggest that the ability to understand another’s perspective may be important in the development and expression of prosocial behaviors, particularly among males.
Eisenberg and his colleagues (1999) conducted a longitudinal study on the stability and consistency of prosocial responding. Eisenberg and his colleagues (1999) said that study, multiple measures of prosocial behavior, empathy, and perspective taking were measured at various time points.The sample was taken between the ages of 4 to 20 years. Prosocial behavior was measured through observation at the children’s preschool and at the laboratory, as well as self, parent, and/or friend, peer report, depending on the time point. Empathy related responding was measured through self and friend report at intermediate time points. Early prosocial behavior, specifically, observed duplicate sharing, predicted later prosocial dispositions, with empathy related responding appearing to partially mediate this relation (Eisenberg, 1999). This study suggests that empathy is part of a larger prosocial personality trait that develops in children and motivates helping behaviors into young adulthood (Eisenberg, 1999).
DeCaroli and Sagone (2013) explored the relationships between different types of self-efficacy and prosocial tendencies in a sample of 108 Italian adolescents, attending two Public Junior and High Schools at Catania (Sicily, Italy). The researcher used three scales of measure of empathic, problem solving, and interpersonal communication self-efficacy (Caprara, 2001) and the Prosocial Tendencies Measure (Carlo & Randall, 2002) divided in three main factors (anonymous, public, and helping behavior in emotionally critical and dire situations). Results showed most adolescents expressed low levels of self-efficacy in problem solving and empathy, but both low and high levels of self-efficacy in interpersonal communication. Self-efficacy in problem solving, empathy, and interpersonal communication was positively related to helping behavior in emotionally critical and dire situations; in addition, self-efficacy in problem solving and empathy was positively related to public prosocial behavior. Future research could analyze the impact of other psychological dimensions (e.g. resilience, personality traits, and value orientations) on prosocial tendencies.
Caprara and Steca (2007) conducted a study to find attest to the positive influence that prosocial behavior, namely people’s tendency to act voluntarily to benefit others, exerts on individual functioning and interpersonal transactions. A large sample from the Italian population belonging to six age groups participated in the study and filled out self–report questionnaires aimed at evaluating personal efficacy beliefs, values, and prosocial behavior. The present study examined a conceptual model in which self-efficacy beliefs and self-transcendence values benevolence and universalism operate in concert to promote prosocial behavior. The posited model accounted for a notable portion of the variance of prosocial behavior, ranging from 41% to 70% in both genders. Findings attest to the effects that self-transcendence values exert on prosocial behavior either directly or indirectly through self-efficacy beliefs, in regulating affect and in managing interpersonal relationships
Vecchio, Gerbino and Pastorelli (2007) conducted a longitudinal design, 650 young adolescents multi-faceted self-eﬃcacy beliefs (academic, social and self-regulatory), academic achievement and peer preference in middle school were used to predict life satisfaction ﬁve years later. Hierarchical regression analysis showed that for both genders, academic and social self-eﬃcacy beliefs in early adolescence were better predictors of life satisfaction in late adolescence than early academic achievement and peer preference. Furthermore, change in academic and social self-eﬃcacy beliefs signiﬁcantly contributed to predict life satisfaction over the course of ﬁve years. (Vecchio, Gerbino, &Pastorelli, 2007).
Prosocial behaviors are voluntary acts intended to beneﬁt others. Lack of empathy is a core feature of psychopathy, a constellation of personality traits that includes callousness, egocentricity, and anti-sociality while psychopathy is often associated with antisocial behavior, its relation to prosociality may depend upon the class of prosocial behavior and facet of psychopathy considered. Public prosocial behavior may be more motivated by extrinsic social rewards than anonymous prosociality, which may be more motivated by empathy and altruistic motives. It was hypothesized that primary psychopathy, especially affective callousness, would be positively and uniquely associated with public prosociality, and inversely associated with anonymous and altruistic prosociality, and that these associations would be mediated by empathy. In contrast, secondary psychopathy was expected to be weakly and inversely associated with all three types of prosocial behavior and with empathy. In an undergraduate student sample (n = 539), unique and interaction effects were tested in hierarchical regression. Predictions were supported for primary psychopathy. Gender did not moderate associations. Theoretical and practical implications are considered (Bradley, 2013)
In the light of above literature it is concluded that a vast number of studies have been conducted on the empathy, self-efficacy and prosocial behavior. These studies shows that the people who have develop high or positive prosocial behavior have high level of empathy and self-efficacy.
The rationale of the study was to explore the relationship in empathy, self-efficacy and prosocial behavior in males and female students. This research measure either the prosocial behavior related with empathy and self-efficacy. The researcher was provided basic truthful information about the variables which cause problems in environment. This research explore the several aspects of those problems, their solutions and give different dimensions for further researches.
2.2 Aims and Objectives
This study was conducted in order
- To compare the prosocial behavior in males and females.
- To evaluate the level of empathy in both males and females.
- To assess the self-efficacy in males and females.
- To assess whether there is relationship in empathy, self-efficacy and prosocial behavior.
- There is likely to be a significant relationship in empathy, self-efficacy and prosocial behavior in college students.
- Effective response is likely to be the predictor of prosocial behavior in college students.
- There is likely to be a significant differences in empathy, self-efficacy and prosocial behavior in males and females.
- There is likely to be a significant relationship in Prosocial behavior due to parental education.
This research aimed at investigates the relationship in Empathy, Self-efficacy and Prosocial behavior in college students. It also investigates the differences among Empathy, Self-efficacy and Prosocial behavior in college students.
3.1 Research Design
Cross sectional research design was used in order to explore the phenomenon of Empathy, Self-efficacy and prosocial behavior in college students.
Samples of 120 (60 males and 60 females) students weretaken. These participants were taken from different colleges, government college of Township, Government College for women Wahdat road Lahore. The age range of the participants lied between 18-25college students. Participants wereselectedon the basis of the following inclusion/exclusion criteria.
- Age ranges of participants were18-25 years.
- Only those participants studying in institutes of Lahore were taken.
- Both day scholars and hostilities students were taken.
- Students from all socioeconomic status were included.
- Participants other than institute of Lahore were excluded.
- Students below intermediate level of education were excluded.
- The participants below 18 years and above 25 years were excluded.
The Demo-graphical Information of the Study Variables (N=120).
Note:M=Mean, SD=Standard deviation, f=frequencies, %=percentage
3.3. Operational Definitions
Operational definitions of the main variables are as follows:
- 3.3.1 Empathy
Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another(Davis, 1983).
- 3.3.2 Self-efficacy
This is the belief that one can perform a novel or difficult tasks, or cope with adversity in various domains of human functioning (Schwarzer, 1992).
- 3.3.3 Prosocial behavior
Prosocial behavior is “voluntary actions that are Involving help or benefit another peoples or group of individuals” (Gustavo & Brandy, 2001).
3.4 Assessment Measures
Self-constructed demographic data sheet, Empathy, Self-efficacy and prosocial behavior scales were used.
- 3.4.1 Demographic questionnaire
A self-constructed demographic questionnaire was administered in addition to research questionnaires. Demographic questionnaire included name, age sex, education, siblings, religion, father’s education, father’s occupation, mother’s education, mother’s occupation, family system monthly income of parents, religious affiliation, etc.
- 3.4.2 Empathy
For assessment of empathy the “interpersonal reactivity index (IRI)” (Davis, 1983) scale was used. The measurement procedure was simple, easy, short and understandable for participants. The questionnaire consists of 30items and Cronbach’s alpha reliability was .79. Answers were taken on a 5 point Likert scale ranging from “Do not describe me well” to “Describe me very well”. The measure had five components: Affective Response (AR), Emotion Regulation (ER), Perspective Taking (PT), Self–Other, Awareness (SOA), and Empathic Attitudes (EA).Tool translation method was adopted according to the APA (American Psychological Association). All the ethics were followed. At first tool was translated English into Urdu by three persons of the same field then one more relevant questionnaire was selected and then back translated into English by the persons of the same filed and then matched to the original tool and then select one of the most relevant and suitable tool translation.
- 3.4.3 The General Self-Efficacy Scale (GSE)(Schwarzer, 1992)
For assessment of self-efficacy the “The General Self-Efficacy Scale (GSE)” (Schwarzer, 1992) was used. The measurement procedure was simple, easy, short and understandable for participants. The questionnaire consists of 10-items. The scale is usually self-administered, as part of a more comprehensive questionnaire. Preferably, the 10 items are mixed at random into a larger pool of items that have the same response format.The questionnaire consists of 10 items and Cronbach’s alpha reliability was .86.The translated Urdu version of the questionnaire was used to assess self-efficacy in male and female students.It requires 4 minutes on average. Responses are made on a 4 point scale. Sum up the responses to all 10 items to yield the final composite score with a range from 10 to 40.
- 3.4.4 Prosocial Behavior Scale
“Prosocial Tendencies Measure (PTM)” (Gustavo & Brandy, 2001)was used for the assessment of prosocial behavior.The questionnaire consists of 23 items and Cronbach’s alpha reliability was .80.Tool translation method was adopted according to the APA (American Psychological Association) all the ethics were followed. At first tool was translated into English to Urdu by three persons of the same field then one more relevant questionnaire was selected and then back translated into English by the persons of the same filed and then matched to the original tool and then select one of the most relevant and suitable tool translation.
The questionnaires were retrieved from internet and then permission was formally taken from the authorities, original authors of the scales. For interpersonal reactivity index (IRI) permission was granted by (Davis). For Generalized Self-efficacy Scale permission was granted from (Schwarzer& Jerusalem) via email to translate and use it for only research purpose.
Authority letters explaining the nature of studytaken from the discrete authority of Institute of Applied Psychology; University of the Punjab, Lahore and permission from the authorities of concerned universitiestakenas well for the purpose of data collection. After getting formal ethical permission data collection started. The datacollected fromdifferent colleges as written in sample. The nature and purpose of the data collection explained to the participants.A written consent was taken from all the students after explaining them the instructions as well as the nature of the research and ensuring them the confidentiality of their participation and responses to the questionnaires. All the participants filled the questionnaires in the presence of the researcher. The response rate was 90 % and the time consumed by the participants on average to complete the questionnaires was 20 minutes.
A demographic data sheetused to gather the personal information about the participants including their name, class, semester, gender, age, religion, father education, father occupation, mother education, mother occupation, Number of siblings, university, country and living place.
3.6. Ethical Considerations
In order to conduct this research some ethical considerations were kept in mind.
- The permission of questionnaire was taken from their authors.
- Permission was taken from the University and college authorities to conduct study on their students.
- Consent was taken from the participants. They were told about the nature and purpose of the study before the administration of questionnaire and they were ensured that the information required from them would be held confidential and would not be used for any purpose other than research.
- Only those participants were included who were willing to participate and if anyone was not ready to fill the questionnaire he or she was not forced to do that as it not only disturb the participants but also affects the results.
- The confidentiality of information and anonymity of the participants was maintained
3.7 Statistical Analysis
Pearson product movement correlation analysis, regression analyses were used for the current research study. Independent sample t-test was also employed to check out gender differences in empathy, self-efficacy and prosocial behavior in college students. In additional analysis, one way ANOVA was employed to check participant’s father and mother educational effect on prosocial behavior. All the analyses were run by using IBM Shied SPSS (Version 22.0). Upon acquiring significant correlation coefficient regression analysis employed to check stronger predictor for the prosocial behavior of college students.
This study aimed to investigate the Empathy, Self-efficacy and Prosocial behavior in college students. Further this study also explored that either empathy or self-efficacy predicts the prosocial behavior.
- Descriptive analysis was performed to find out means, standard deviations, minimum, maximum scores and Cronbach’s Alpha reliability for the study variables i.e., empathy, self-efficacy and prosocial behavior.
- Pearson product movement correlation analysis was performed in order to find out the relationship between study variables.
- Multiple linear regression was performed to find out best predictors of prosocial behavior.
- Independent t-test was performed to find out gender differences among male and female students.
- One Way ANOVA test were performed to find out the mother and father education impact on the prosocial behavior in college students.
Descriptive Statistics of Study Variables (N=120)
|Variables||No. No of items||M||SD||Α|
Note:α = Cronbach’s Alpha Reliability, M=Mean, SD= Standard Deviation,
Pearson Product Moment Correlation Between The Study Variables (N=120)
|3. Affective response||—||—||1||.393**||.441**||.413**||.495**|
|4. Emotion regulation||—||—||—||1||.317**||.299**||.398**|
|5. Perspective taking||—||—||—||—||1||.456**||.493**|
|6. Self-other awareness||—||—||—||—||—||1||.425**|
|7. Empathic attitudes||—||—||—||—||—||—||1|
Note: Correlation significant level *p<.05, **p<.01
Pearson product moment correlation was used to find the correlation between empathy, self-efficacy and prosocial behavior. The results supported the hypothesis of the present study that there is a significant relationship in empathy, self-efficacy and prosocial behavior in college students. The correlation values indicate that as the empathy, Self-efficacy increases the prosocial behavior also increase.
To examine predictors of prosocial behavior, self-efficacy and empathy (Affective response, emotional regulation, perspective taking, self-other awareness, and empathic attitudes) were entered and stepwise regression analysis was carried out.
StepwiseRegression Analysis Showing the Impact of Empathy and Self-efficacy on the Prosocial behavior (N= 120).
|Model 1 B||95 % CI|
|Affective response||1.43***||[.98, 1.88]|
Note: *p<.05, **p<.01, ***p<.001, CI=Confidence Interval
The result showed that Affective responseis the only variable which is best predicting prosocial behavior which means that as the scores on affective response increases the scores on prosocial behavior also increases i.e., self-efficacy is the variable that is not predicting prosocial behavior well. The results revealed that the influence of affective responseon prosocial behavior isβ = .50
Gender Differencesin Male and Female Participants (N=120)
(n = 60)
(n = 60)
Note: CI = Confidence Interval; LL= Lower Limit; UL = Upper Limit. M=Mean, SD=Standard deviation.
An independent sample t-test was conducted to evaluate the gender differences in the empathy, self-efficacy and prosocial behavior. Results revealed a significant gender differences in self-efficacy. Moreover, males had a significantly greater score in self-efficacy than females. Results also revealed that there are no significant gender differences in empathy and prosocial behavior.
It was hypothesized that parents education may affect the prosocial behavior of the student so that one way ANOVA was employed to find out the educational effect on prosocial behavior.
One Way ANOVA Comparing Study Variables in Fathers Education of College Students at Different Education Level (N=120)
Variables Illiterate Under matric Undergraduate Postgraduate
(n=17) (n=27) (n=31) (n=45)
M SD M SD M SD M SD F
Prosocial Behavior 77.28 13.82 80.37 11.12 77.38 13.84 82.88 12.031.42
The results revealed that there was no significant difference among educational level for prosocial behavior. This shows that father’seducation of college students has no effect on their prosocial behavior of the college students.
One Way ANOVA Comparing Study Variables in Mothers Education of College Students at Different Education Level (N=120)
Variables Illiterate Undermatric Undergraduate Postgraduate
(n=46) (n=31) (n=17) (n=26)
M SD M SD M SD M SD F
Prosocial Behavior 77.78 11.47 81.35 13.30 81.29 12.46 82.30 13.66 .94
The results revealed that there was no significant difference among educational level for prosocial behavior. This shows that mother’s education of college students has no effect on their prosocial behavior of the college students.
4.8. Summary of the Findings
The current study investigated the relationship between empathy, self-efficacy and prosocial behavior in college students.
- Pearson product movement correlation was employed and the results of the current study showed that there was a positive significant relationship in empathy, self-efficacy and prosocial behavior.
- Linear regression was employed to find out the predictor of prosocial and the present results showed that empathy was the best predictor of prosocial behavior.
- An independent sample t-test was conducted to evaluate the gender differences in the empathy, self-efficacy and prosocial behavior. Results revealed a significant gender difference in self-efficacy. Moreover, males had a significantly greater score in self-efficacy than females. Results also revealed that there is no significant gender difference in empathy and prosocial behavior.
- In additional analysis, one way ANOVA was employed to find out parental educational level on prosocial behavior in students and the results showed that there was no effect of parental education on prosocial behavior in students.
The present study investigates the relationship between empathy, self-efficacy and prosocial behavior in college students. The current study focusses on the role of empathy and self-efficacy in making prosocial behavior of the college students (males and females) and the main focus of the current study is to find out the relationship between the studying variables. The current study also explores the gender differences among empathy, self-efficacy and prosocial behavior in college students.
It was hypothesized that there was likely to be a significant relationship between empathy, self-efficacy and prosocial behavior in college students and the results of the current study revealed that there was significant positive relationship between empathy, self-efficacy and prosocial behavior which showed that with the increase in empathy may increase the prosocial behavior in college students as the study of Rushton (1990) reported that moderate stability in peoples’ prosocial behavior across varying situations and contexts, demonstrating both consistent individual differences in prosociality and the importance of contextual factors. Research following children from early childhood to adulthood supports the existence of the long-debated altruistic or prosocial personality (Eisenberg, 1999). Individual differences in prosociality are linked to sociability, low shyness, extroversion, and introversion although some prosocial behaviors may need a combination of more traits, as perceived self-efficacy in the case of helping. The research further suggested that there was significant correlation between empathy and prosocial behavior (Penner, 2005).
It was hypothesized that empathy is likely to be the predictor of prosocial behavior and the results of the current study proved that empathy was the best predictor of prosocial behavior because when people have high empathy level among themselves it produce high prosocial behavior among people as Susan, Jamie and Anna (2005) examined empathy and gender as predictors of prosocial behavior among African American early adolescents. Two elementary schools in an inner-city public housing community in Chicago participated in this study. Results revealed a signiﬁcant main effect for empathy, as well as an interaction between empathy and gender in predicting prosocial behavior. In general, youth with more empathy reported more prosocial behavior, and this effect was more pronounced for males than females. These ﬁndings suggested that the ability to understand another’s perspective may be important in the development and expression of prosocial behaviors, particularly among males. The current study also consistent with the results of Susan, Jamie and Anna (2005) and proved that empathy was the best predictor of prosocial behavior.
The results were consistent with the current study as investigated by Eisenberg and his colleagues (1999) conducted a longitudinal study on the stability and consistency of prosocial responding. Early prosocial behavior, specifically, observed duplicate sharing, predicted later prosocial dispositions, with empathy related responding appearing to partially mediate this relation (Eisenberg, 1999). This study suggests that empathy is part of a larger prosocial personality trait that develops in children and motivates helping behaviors into young adulthood (Eisenberg, 1999).
It was hypothesized that there is likely to be the significant gender differences among empathy, self-efficacy and prosocial behavior in college students (males & females) and the results revealed that there was significant gender differences between empathy, self-efficacy and prosocial behavior in college male and female students as the study of Susan, Jamie and Anna (2005) examines empathy and gender as predictors of prosocial behavior among African American early adolescents. Two elementary schools in an inner-city public housing community in Chicago participated in this study. Results revealed a signiﬁcant main effect for empathy, as well as an interaction between empathy and gender in predicting prosocial behavior. In general, youth with more empathy reported more prosocial behavior, and this effect was more pronounced for males than females. These ﬁndings suggest that the ability to understand another’s perspective may be important in the development and expression of prosocial behaviors, particularly among males (Susan, Jamie & Anna, 2005).
It was hypothesized that there is likely to be a significant differences in high and low self-efficacy among male and female students. Roberts, William and Janet (1996) conducted a study to explore the Relations between emotional expressiveness, empathy, and prosocial behaviors. Confirming expectations, latent variable path analyses (Lohm&Sller, 1984) indicated that emotional expressiveness, emotional insight, and role taking were strong predictors of latent empathy (multiple R^ = .60). Boys’ empathy, in turn, was a strong predictor of prosocial behavior, R^ =, 55. In contrast, girls’ empathy was related to prosocial behaviors with friends, R^ = .13, but not to cooperation with peers. The study findings also suggested that there was a significant difference between levels of empathy which was predicting their prosocial behavior (Roberts, William & Janet, 1996) also study findings provided an important support and clarification for certain theoretical expectations, and also raise issues that need clarification (Roberts, William & Janet, 1996). The results of the present study also consistent with the results of the Roberts, William and Janet (1996) and shoed that level of empathy differs from gender to gender as well as prosocial behavior.
The main contribution of the present research was whether or not there was a significant relationship between empathy, self-efficacy and prosocial behavior in college students. The results of the present study were consistent with the hypothesis as justified by the previous researches as well. There was a significant positive relationship between empathy, self-efficacy and prosocial behavior in college students. There was a significant gender difference between level of empathy and prosocial behavior in college students both male and female. There no parental effect was found in the prosocial behavior of the college students for both the male and female students.
5.2. Limitations and Suggestions
Before generalizing the results of the study some light must be thrown n limitations of the study.
- The main limitation of the study is its cross-sectional design which prevents from drawing causal inferences. From studies with such designs we can only conclude if the variables are related to each other or not.
- To determine the cause and effect relationship, especially the direction of associations, longitudinal and experimental designs are recommended.
- The data for the following study was taken from only two colleges in this respect the other colleges and universities are totally ignored so it is suggested that the sample should be equally distributed.
- Another limitation was time, as the time to conduct this research was short. Ti is suggested that more time should be given to the examiner to complete this study.
- The condition under which the questionnaire was administered were not ideal because distractions were not controlled which might affected the responses.
- In order to have confirmed results, these extraneous variables should be controlled, As the researcher was not trained enough so this lack of training and experience and be termed as limitation.
It should be very easy process for students to conduct researches on college students and various departments of education to have better understanding of the students. The researcher found some students having neurotic traits those students need counseling from a psychologist. So that education department should recruit some psychologists and conduct counseling programs for all those students and to enhance their academic performance and to motivate them as well. The current research mainly focused on the prosocial behavior of the students so there was great need to teach the students positive manners and behaviors towards others and make this world a happy peaceful place to live in.
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