The goal of the present study was to investigate how empathy and gender-empathic constructions affect the levels of support for political compromise in an intractable conflict. Gender-empathic constructions relate to perceptions that individuals hold about self or others as having feminine-empathic gender traits. We hypothesized that empathy will be positively associated with support for compromise, but that perceiving one’s own group as feminine empathic will be negatively associated with such attitudes, with empathy being a significant mediator. Data were collected through a public opinion survey conducted with a representative sample of Israeli-Jewish adults (N = 511). The findings supported our hypotheses, thus indicating that perceiving one’s own group as having feminine-empathic traits and empathy toward opponents made significant contributions to explaining Jewish-Israeli willingness to compromise with Palestinians. The implications of our findings for understanding the role of gender-empathic constructions and of empathy in conflict resolution are discussed.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors wish to thank the Swiss Center for Conflict Research, the Truman Institute for the Advancement of Peace, the Harry and Sylvia Hoffmann Leadership Fellowship program, the Lady Davis Fellowship program, and the Smart Family Institute of Communications, all at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, for the generous support in doing this research.
© The Author(s) 2017.
- Israeli-Palestinian conflict
- gender perception
- public opinion
- support for compromise