Teenage boys who show empathy attract 1.8 more girlfriends than boys who don’t

Landmark study shows the extent that teen males and females select empathic classmates as friends


Boys high in cognitive empathy attracted an average of 1.8 more girl friendships than low empathy counterparts, as revealed by a landmark study.

The Australian Research Council-funded research, led by Professor Joseph Ciarrochi at the Institute for Positive Psychology and Education at Australian Catholic University, has been published in the Journal of Personality.

It is the first study to examine the extent that adolescent males and females select empathic classmates as friends. And the conclusion based on a study of 1,970 Year 10 students in Queensland and New South Wales (average age of 15.7 years) is that girls are more likely to nominate empathic boys as friends.


J. Ciarrochi, P.D. Parker, B. K. Sahdra, T.B. Kashdan, N. Kiuru, J. Conigrave. When empathy matters: The role of sex and empathy in close friendships. Journal of Personality, 2016; DOI:10.1111/jopy.12255