This study uses survey data to test the correlation between empathic concern and fourteen different prosocial behaviors, including informal help to individuals and formal helping through institutions. Statistically significant correlations were found for ten 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 decisions to help others who are not immediately present, which often occurs with volunteering, charitable giving, and blood donation. The weak correlation between empathic concern and most helping behaviors indicates that individual differences in dispositional empathy may not play much a role in decisions to help others.
- Empathy; Altruism; Prosocial behaviors; Volunteering; Charitable giving; Helping
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/christopher_einolf/2/