Who cares?: negative peer experiences and empathy for rejected others
The purpose of this study was to examine the differences in empathy and prosocial and aggressive behavior based on rejection experiences, both immediate and chronic. Adolescent participants (N = 101) were randomly accepted or rejected in an online game of catch. Adolescents watched a video of a sex- and race-matched peer being rejected in the same game. Adolescents who had been rejected in the game were not more empathic than those who had been accepted but rejected participants did behave more prosocially. A new measure of chronic rejection was developed and validated for this study. Chronic rejection was related to situational empathy but was not related to prosocial behavior. Sex differences, influences of trait empathy, and the properties of a novel measure of chronic rejection are also discussed.