The Relations of Effortful Control and Impulsivity to Children's Sympathy: A Longitudinal Study. Academic Article uri icon


  • The relations of children's (n = 214 at Time 1; M age = 6 years at Time 1) dispositional sympathy to adult-reported and behavioral measures of effortful control (EC) and impulsivity were examined in a longitudinal study including five assessments, each two years apart. Especially for boys, relatively high levels of EC and growth in EC were related to high sympathy. Teacher-reported impulsivity was generally modestly negatively related to measures of teacher-reported sympathy for boys, and a decline in impulsivity was linked to boys' sympathy. Some findings suggested a positive association between impulsivity and children's self-reported sympathy. EC, especially when reported by teachers, was more often a unique predictor of sympathy than was impulsivity. Results generally support the argument that sympathetic individuals, especially boys, are high in EC and that EC is a more consistent predictor of sympathy than impulsivity.

published proceedings

  • Cogn Dev

author list (cited authors)

  • Eisenberg, N., Michalik, N., Spinrad, T. L., Hofer, C., Kupfer, A., Valiente, C., ... Reiser, M.

citation count

  • 91

complete list of authors

  • Eisenberg, Nancy||Michalik, Nicole||Spinrad, Tracy L||Hofer, Claire||Kupfer, Anne||Valiente, Carlos||Liew, Jeffrey||Cumberland, Amanda||Reiser, Mark

publication date

  • January 2007