Relationships between empathy, gender, and testosterone levels in older adults

Wuying Chen1, Hui Feng2, Chunlan Lv3, Jiamei Lu4
1College of Education, Shanghai Normal University and Jiangsu Normal University
2Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital of Xiangyang
3Clinical Laboratory, Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital of Xiangyang
4College of Education, Shanghai Normal University
Cite this article:  Chen, W., Feng, H., Lv, C., & Lu, J. (2018). Relationships between empathy, gender, and testosterone levels in older adults. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 46, 1895-1908.

Volume 46 Issue 11 | e6884 | Published: November 2018 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2224/sbp.6884

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We focused on the relationship between testosterone levels and empathy in older people and how this relationship changes with age and between genders. Participants comprised 45 younger (30–39 years) and 144 older (50–75 years) individuals who completed an empathy test and whose free testosterone (FT) levels in a blood sample were measured. Results showed that women scored significantly higher in empathy, and that FT levels were negatively correlated with emotional and cognitive empathy. However, women had a stronger emotional empathy relationship with FT, and a cognitive empathy relationship with FT was observed only in men. In addition, the effect of FT levels on empathy showed an age-related decline from middle to late adulthood, and this effect may vary by gender and by both components of empathy.

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