Empathy-related responding relates to a variety of socioemotional outcomes for children. However, for a
coherent pattern to emerge, it has been important to differentiate among various empathy-related
reactions, including empathy, concern, and personal distress. Sympathy, in particular, has been
associated with higher levels of prosocial behavior, whereas personal distress reactions tend to be
negatively or unrelated to prosocial behavior. Sympathy and empathy also have been positively related
to children’s prosocial moral reasoning and socially competent behavior, and negatively related to
externalizing problems. Individual differences in self-regulation, as well as socialization experiences,
also have been associated with children’s sympathy vs. personal distress responses.