Cross-Cultural Perspectives on the Role of Empathy during COVID-19's First Wave

Butovskaya M. L. , Burkova V. N. , Randall A. K. , Donato S., Fedenok J. N. , Hocker L., ...More

SUSTAINABILITY, vol.13, no.13, 2021 (Peer-Reviewed Journal) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 13 Issue: 13
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.3390/su13137431
  • Journal Name: SUSTAINABILITY
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded, Social Sciences Citation Index, Scopus, Aerospace Database, CAB Abstracts, Communication Abstracts, Food Science & Technology Abstracts, Geobase, INSPEC, Metadex, Veterinary Science Database, Directory of Open Access Journals, Civil Engineering Abstracts


The COVID-19 pandemic has spread throughout the world, and concerns about psychological, social, and economic consequences are growing rapidly. Individuals' empathy-based reactions towards others may be an important resilience factor in the face of COVID-19. Self-report data from 15,375 participants across 23 countries were collected from May to August 2020 during the early phases of the COVID-19 pandemic. In particular, this study examined different facets of empathy-Perspective-Taking, Empathic Concern, and Personal Distress, and their association with cross-cultural ratings on Individualism, Power Distance, The Human Development Index, Social Support Ranking, and the Infectious Disease Vulnerability Index, as well as the currently confirmed number of cases of COVID-19 at the time of data collection. The highest ratings on Perspective-Taking were obtained for USA, Brazil, Italy, Croatia, and Armenia (from maximum to minimum); on Empathetic Concern, for the USA, Brazil, Hungary, Italy, and Indonesia; and on Personal Distress, from Brazil, Turkey, Italy, Armenia, Indonesia. Results also present associations between demographic factors and empathy across countries. Limitations and future directions are presented.