Different strokes empathy, individual characteristics, and helping

Alicia J. Hofelich, Stephanie D. Preston

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Scopus citations


As the chapters in this book attest, there is wide individual variation in the ways that people respond to personal life struggles, ranging from denial to a complete loss of emotional control, to the type of resilience to which we all strive—where we actively participate in our strife and emerge stronger, having learned and perhaps even benefited from the experience. Despite a respected and growing segment of psychological and health research on resilience and its less desirable counterparts (e.g., Davydov, Stewart, Ritchie, & Chaudieu, 2010; Epel, McEwen, & Ickovics, 1998), very little research has examined how an individual’s response to life stress can influence helping responses from people around him/her. There is a significant body of research on individual differences in the empathic response but most of this research uses narrative, confederate, or fictional needy targets that were designed to be sympathetic (e.g., see Batson et al., 1997; Eisenberg & Faber, 1990; Graziano, Habashi, Sheese, & Tobin, 2007). For this reason, we know very little about how different responses to need can produce diverging empathic responses to them.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Resilience Handbook
Subtitle of host publicationApproaches to Stress and Trauma
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9781136484254
ISBN (Print)9780415699877
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013


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