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Interrelation between empathy and friendship development during (pre)adolescence and the moderating effect of developmental language disorder: A longitudinal study

van den Bedem, NP; Willems, D; Dockrell, JE; van Alphen, PM; Rieffe, C; (2019) Interrelation between empathy and friendship development during (pre)adolescence and the moderating effect of developmental language disorder: A longitudinal study. Social Development , 28 (3) pp. 599-619. 10.1111/sode.12353. Green open access

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Abstract

The association between empathy and friendship quality in children and adolescents is well established, but longitudinal studies are lacking. Because social interactions typically involve language, these relations might be moderated by children's communication problems. The current study examined the interrelation of friendship quality (positive and negative) and empathy (affective, cognitive, and prosocial motivation) development of 317 children (8–16 years old) at three time points across 18 months. Of these children 112 had a developmental language disorder (DLD). Results confirmed a bidirectional relation between empathy and friendship quality across time. Cognitive empathy and prosocial motivation contributed to the development of more positive friendship features in children with and without DLD. For children with unstable friendships, more cognitive empathy was related to fewer negative friendship features. Positive friendship features in turn contributed to higher empathy on all three aspects. Negative friendship features were related to higher affective empathy and lower prosocial motivation in both groups, but did not predict empathy development across time. These results imply that positive friendship features are important for development of empathic skills and vice versa that empathy enables children to grow in friendship quality in children with and without DLD.

Type: Article
Title: Interrelation between empathy and friendship development during (pre)adolescence and the moderating effect of developmental language disorder: A longitudinal study
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1111/sode.12353
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1111/sode.12353
Language: English
Additional information: © 2018 The Authors Social Development Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution‐NonCommercial‐NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non‐commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.
Keywords: emotion socialization, friendship quality, prosocial behaviour, social learning, specific language impairment
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Psychology and Human Development
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Social Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10079381
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