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The paper explored how to promote constructive intergroup relations among children and young people in a context of protracted conflict. Across two studies, the Empathy–Attitudes–Action model was examined in middle childhood and adolescence. More specifically, we tested the relations among dispositional empathy, out-group attitudes, and prosocial behaviors for youth born after the peace agreement in Northern Ireland. In one correlational (Study 1: N = 132; 6–11 years old: M = 8.42 years, SD = 1.23) and one longitudinal design (Study 2: N = 466; 14–15 years old), bootstrapped mediation analyses revealed that empathy was associated with more positive attitudes toward the conflict-related out-group, which in turn, was related to higher out-group prosocial behaviors, both self-report and concrete actions. Given that out-group prosocial acts in a setting of intergroup conflict may serve as the antecedents for peacebuilding among children and adolescents, this study has intervention implications.

Original publication




Journal article


Social Development

Publication Date





461 - 477