Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Stacey N. Doan

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Rights Information

2022 Jackie E Jones


The present study investigated relations among parental traditional masculinity ideology, child empathy, and child sex. There were 108 participants in the study, including 36 moms, 36 dads, and 36 children, all from the same family unit. Mothers and fathers reported on their norms regarding traditional masculinity. Child empathy was coded by trained research assistants for comforting and mirroring behaviors during a lab-based task. Child empathy was also measured through emotion knowledge, which was assessed through the emotion knowledge task. A main effects model of maternal and paternal male role norms (MRN) to empathy showed a significant positive association between paternal MRN and child empathy, as well as a significant negative association between maternal MRN and child empathy. Moderation analyses revealed that child sex moderated the relationship between MRN and empathy behaviors. Higher paternal male role norms predicted more empathetic behavior in daughters, while higher maternal male role norms predicted lower empathy in daughters. Boys’ empathy was unaffected by parental male role norms. Higher maternal male role norms also predicted lower emotion knowledge in the child. The results highlight the influence of parents’ traditional masculinity ideology on their child’s empathy, suggesting a possible relationship between them.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.