ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2016, Vol. 24 ›› Issue (8): 1159-1174.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2016.01159

• Meta-Analysis • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Association between empathy and prosocial behavior: A systematic review and meta-analysis

DING Fengqin; LU Zhaohui   

  1. (School of Education, Ningxia University, Yinchuan 750021, China)
  • Received:2016-01-06 Online:2016-08-15 Published:2016-08-15
  • Contact: DING Fengqin, E-mail:


A meta-analysis was conducted to explore the relationship between empathy and prosocial behavior, and the factors affecting this relationship. Through literature retrieval, 76 cases and 77 independent effect sizes together with 20352 participants which met the inclusion criteria of meta-analysis were selected. Heterogeneity test indicated that random effects model was appropriate for the meta-analysis. The result of funnel plot and Egger’s intercept illustrated that there was not publication bias. Main-effect test findings demonstrated that empathy was significantly associated with prosocial behavior (r = 0.38, p < 0.001). The moderator analysis revealed that empathy measurement tools and participants’ age moderated the relationship between empathy and prosocial behavior but the culture background had no moderate effect.

Key words: empathy, prosocial behavior, meta-analysis, moderate effect