Brain and Behavior, Mental Health

Rebellious Teen? Try Some Empathy

A new study published in the Journal of Moral Education explored the connection between parental support, empathy, and teenage delinquency. This compelling research was conducted over 4 years, with 3865 adolescents from age 12 through 17. The teens were surveyed on three separate occasions; first at age 12/13, again at 14/15, and finally at 16/17 years of age.

Previous research has confirmed that perceived parental support is associated with lower incidence of delinquent behaviors in adolescents and young adults. But this study, authored by Professor Glenn Walters with Kutztown University in Pennsylvania, went further by also examining the connection between such parental support, development of empathy in the teen, and levels of subsequent delinquency.

According to the authors:
“The principal implication of this study is that parental support, as perceived by the child, apparently plays a small but significant role in the development of empathy in early adolescent youth. Empathy, in turn, may serve to reduce the child’s propensity for future delinquent involvement.”

Terissa Michele Miller, MS Psy

Check out the original research:

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