Browsing by Subject "compassion"

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  • Kaasalainen, Reetta (Helsingfors universitet, 2016)
    A large body of experimental research indicates that from an early age children are able to engage in compassionate behaviour. However, less focus has been paid on how children's compassionate behaviour is constituted in naturalistic settings. The aim of this study was to investigate what are children's compassionate acts in a natural kindergarten setting and how do children's peer relationships interrelate with these acts. The study is part of the research project "Constituting Cultures of Compassion in Early Childhood Education (CoCuCo)". The theoretical framework of the study is based on the complex concept of compassion and the constitution of children's compassionate behaviour in social contexts. Although human's have a natural tendency to empathy and compassion, the sociocultural context in which people interact has a great influence on whether compassion is nurtured or suppressed. Previous research suggests that as children age their compassionate behaviour changes, which might be due to the increase in children's social understanding. The current study was conducted by observing 30 5-7-year-olds children's interaction in a kindergarten setting. Children's compassionate acts and contextual factors were recorded by using a semi-structured observation form. The data was analysed using qualitative analysis methods. Sociograms compiled by child group's staff were used to define children's peer relationships. The findings of the study showed a wide variation in children's compassionate acts. Acts such as helping and defending a friend were more frequent among children than acts of caring, comforting and inclusion. There was no clear correlation between children's compassionate acts and peer relationships. Children exhibited more compassion towards other peers than close friends but also failed to respond to the need of a non-friend peer more frequently. In addition, children with more reciprocal friendships seemed to engage more in compassionate behavior while at the same time failing to react compassionately to peers' needs more frequently than children with less reciprocal friendships. The findings strengthen the idea of compassion's complex nature and call for broader research on how children's acts of compassion are constituted in naturalistic settings in children's everyday life.
  • Pyy, Iida (2021)
    This paper argues that political compassion is a necessary disposition for engaging with human rights principles and combatting social injustices such as racial discrimination. Drawing from Martha Nussbaum’s theory of political emotions, the paper concentrates on the need to understand compassion as connected to cognition and practical reasoning. Moreover, the paper offers suggestions of how to educate towards political compassion in human rights education (HRE) through Nussbaum’s notion of narrative imagination. To capture the multiperspectival and partial dimensions of HRE, the paper further employs the work of critical HRE scholars and emphasises the importance of counter-narratives and reflective interpretation of narratives. Refined by critical considerations, Nussbaum’s work on compassion and narrative imagination provides a new and important perspective for understanding the relation between human rights, emotions and social justice in the context of contemporary HRE theory and practice.
  • Dobewall, Henrik; Saarinen, Aino; Lyytikäinen, Leo-Pekka; Keltikangas-Järvinen, Liisa; Lehtimäki, Terho; Hintsanen, Mirka (2021)
    Background: We define compassion as an enduring disposition that centers upon empathetic concern for another person's suffering and the motivation to act to alleviate it. The contribution of specific candidate genes to the development of dispositional compassion for others is currently unknown. We examine candidate genes in the oxytocin and dopamine signaling pathways. Methods: In a 32-year follow-up of the Young Finns Study (N = 2,130, 44.0% men), we examined with multiple indicators latent growth curve modeling the molecular genetic underpinnings of dispositional compassion for others across the life span. We selected five single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) whose functions are known in humans: rs2268498 (OXTR), rs3796863 (CD38) (related to lower oxytocin levels), rs1800497 (ANKK1/DRD2), rs4680 (COMT), and rs1611115 (DBH) (related to higher dopamine levels). Compassion was measured with Cloninger's Temperament and Character Inventory on three repeated observations spanning 15 years (1997-2012). Differences between gender were tested. Results: We did not find an effect of the five SNPs in oxytocin and dopamine pathway genes on the initial levels of dispositional compassion for others. Individuals who carry one or two copies of the T-allele of DBH rs1611115, however, tend to increase faster in compassion over time than those homozygotes for the C-allele, b = 0.063 (SE = 0.027; p = 0.018). This effect was largely driven by male participants, 0.206 (SE = 0.046; p <0.001), and was not significant in female participants when analyzed separately. Conclusions: Men who are known to have, on average, lower compassion than women seem to reduce this difference over time if they carry the T-allele of DBH rs1611115. The direction of the association indicates that dopamine signaling activity rather than overall dopamine levels might drive the development of compassion.
  • Tolonen, Iina; Saarinen, Aino; Keltikangas-Järvinen, Liisa; Siira, Virva; Kähönen, Mika; Hintsanen, Mirka (2021)
    Dispositional compassion has been shown to predict higher well-being and to be associated with lower perceived stress and higher social support. Thus, compassion may be a potential individual factor protecting from job strain. The current study examines (i) whether dispositional compassion predicts job strain and effort-reward imbalance (ERI) or does the predictive relationship run from job strain and ERI to dispositional compassion and (ii) the effect of dispositional compassion on the developmental trajectory of job strain and ERI over a 11-year follow-up. We used data from the Young Finns study (n=723) between 2001 and 2012. The direction of the predictive relationships was analyzed with cross-lagged panel models. Compassion's effect on the trajectories of job strain, ERI, and their components was examined with multilevel models. First, the cross-lagged panel models demonstrated there was no evidence for the predictive pathways between compassion and job strain or its components. However, the predictive pathways from high dispositional compassion to low ERI and high rewards had better fit to the data than the predictive pathways in the opposite direction. In addition, multilevel models showed that high compassion predicted various job characteristics from early adulthood to middle age (lower job strain and higher job control as well as lower ERI and higher reward). Compassion did not predict job demand/effort. The findings were obtained independently of age, gender, and socioeconomic factors in childhood and adulthood. These findings indicate that compassion may be beneficial in work context. Further, compassion might be useful in the management or prevention of some aspects of strain. Our study provides new insight about the role of compassion in work life.