Exploring relationship between aggression and empathy: A case study in Vietnamese adolescents

  • Bui Thi Thu Huyen Hanoi National University of Education
  • Darrick Jolliffe
  • Hoang Anh Phuoc
  • Nguyen Thi Thanh Hong
  • Tran Thi Le Thu
  • Duong Hai Hung
  • Nguyen Thi Nhan Ai
Keywords: aggression, Vietnamese adolescents, empathy, self-control, perspective-taking


Background: Although aggression is a major predictor of antisocial behaviors in adolescent, it can be inhibited by improving empathic concerns to victim. The current study desires to investigate the relationship between empathy and aggressive behavior in Vietnamese adolescents and to explore the impact of an intervention that emphasized self-control skills and perspective-taking on aggressive adolescents in Vietnamese samples.

Methods: A total of 1677 adolescents from three regions of Vietnam took part in this study with the employment of the Reactive and Proactive Aggression Questionnaire, The Basic Empathy Scale and the Self-Control Questionnaire. Among these participants, 26 adolescents who identified as having severe aggressive behavior were selected to attend a pre-and post-intervention for 10 weeks. Responses were analyzed using SPSS version 22.

Results: Findings revealed a negative relationship between aggression and empathy in Vietnamese adolescents. The intervention that focusing on self-control skills and perspective-taking has promising outcomes with aggressive adolescents. The obtained results add more in literature about the role of empathy in reducing aggression in adolescents. Discussions, limitations and recommendations for further studies were also discussed.

Original Articles