This research was published in the Journals of Gerontology: Psychological and Social Sciences.
Empathy refers to understanding of other person’s feelings and/or difficulties.
Researchers analyzed data from about more than 75,000 adults and concluded that women in their 50s are more empathic.
“Overall, late middle-aged adults were higher in both of the aspects of empathy that we measured,” social psychologist Dr. Sara Konrath, co-author of an article on age and empathy, said in a statement.
“They reported that they were more likely to react emotionally to the experiences of others, and they were also more likely to try to understand how things looked from the perspective of others.”
Researchers found a U-shaped pattern of empathy in the life time of the people. They found less empathy in younger and adult people while the middle-aged adults showed more empathy. This change may be due to increase in the cognitive abilities and experience resulting in increased emotional functioning in first part of the adult life span while the decrease in emotional functioning resulted from the cognitive decline in late stages, according to Ed O’Brien, graduate student, who participated in the study from the University of Michigan.
However, this research needs further exploration.
“Americans born in the 1950s and ’60s — the middle-aged people in our samples — were raised during historic social movements, from civil rights to various antiwar countercultures,” the authors said. “It may be that today’s middle-aged adults report higher empathy than other cohorts because they grew up during periods of important societal changes that emphasized the feelings and perspectives of other groups.”
After reading this, we can guess that many people would pray for a women boss in late middle ages, so that they can easily get holidays.
Ed O’Brien, Sara H. Konrath, Daniel Grühn and Anna Linda Hagen, (2012). Empathic Concern and Perspective Taking: Linear and Quadratic Effects of Age Across the Adult Life Span. The Journals of Gerontology: Series B, doi: 10.1093/geronb/gbs055