Stress, empathy, and emotion regulation are factors that can greatly shape an individual's behavior, thoughts, and physiology. The degree to which an individual experiences stress, demonstrates empathy, or is able to regulate emotions can influence his or her ability to establish strong social bonds. The current study investigated the relationships among stress, empathy, and emotion regulation and considered gender differences in these relationships. I hypothesized that higher levels of current stress would be associated with lower levels of empathy and greater difficulties with emotion regulation, and that empathy and emotion regulation would be positively related. Supporting these hypotheses, the following relationships were found: (a) negative correlation between stress and empathy, (b) positive correlation between stress and emotion regulation difficulties, and (c) negative correlation between empathy and emotion regulation difficulties. Results also revealed that greater perceived stress was associated with less empathy in women, but it was unrelated to empathy in men. On the other hand, stress was associated with greater emotion regulation difficulties in both men and women, indicating that either gender may experience a greater disturbance in their emotional response within a social situation when under the influence of stress. Empathy and emotion regulation are positively correlated in both genders, which might suggest that high emotion regulation may allow for appropriate empathy responses within a given social context.
- A Correlational Study of the Relationship between Stress, Empathy, and Emotion Regulation in Young Adults
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