Attachment and Empathy in Preschool Children: The Role of Emotion Regulation and Mother Age

Document Type : Scientific-research


1 Clinical psychology,, Faculty of Educational Sciences and Psychology, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran

2 Shahid Beheshti University



Aim: A link between attachment and empathy has been established in the literature. However, only a few studies have examined mechanisms that influence this relationship, particularly among children. This study aims to explore the role of emotion regulation as a potential mediator, and mothers’ age as a potential moderator in the relationship between attachment and empathy in preschoolers. Method: For this purpose, a total of 61 five-to-six years old children’s attachment were evaluated based on the ASCT. Additionally, their mothers completed the Griffith Empathy Measure (Dadds et al., 2008) as well as the Emotion Regulation Checklist (Shields and Cicchetti, 1998). Result: The results of our regression analysis confirm a positive and significant relationship between attachment and empathy with a partial mediating role of emotion regulation. In addition to that, mothers’ age moderates the relationship between attachment and empathy, specially more intensely among younger mothers. Conclusion: Our findings show that emotion regulation is one of the main machansims through which attachment affects empathy. Therefore, secure children’s ability to regulate their emotions more effectively allows them to be more empathetic with others.


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