Number 41 (2017)

Pilarska, A., Suchańska, A. (2017). The adaptive value of empathy in the context of its relation to the personality organization level

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Aleksandra Pilarska, Anna Suchańska
Institute of Psychology, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan

Abstract:
The purpose of this study was to examine the relationships of the components of empathy (i.e., emphatic concern, personal distress, and perspective taking) to the psychic functions regarded as crucial to the mature personality (i.e., maturity of defense mechanisms, integration of identity, reality testing capacity, control over aggressive impulses, and presence of a moral compass), and to test for gender differences in the magnitude of these relationships. The study sample included 183 young adults (64.5% women and 35,5% men). The Inventory of personality organization (Izdebska, Pastwa-Wojciechowska, 2013) and the Empathic sensitiveness scale (Kaźmierczak, Plopa, Retowski, 2007) were used. The obtained results revealed significant associations between the quality of personality functioning and empathic responsiveness, in particular between personal distress and personality pathology. Moreover, significant differences were observed between men and women in terms of control over aggressive impulses and empathic concern. Also, gender moderated the relationships of aggression control to personal distress and perspective taking, and of superego maturity to perspective taking.

Keywords: empathy, personality organization, gender, moderation

Cite this article as:

Pilarska, A., Suchańska, A. (2017). The adaptive value of empathy in the context of its relation to the personality organization level. Psychologia Społeczna, 41, 166–174. doi: 10.7366/1896180020174105
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