This study investigated whether breastfeeding predicts offspring’s dispositional compassion and empathy from early adulthood to middle age. The parents of the participants (N = 1,394) of the Young Finns study answered questions about breastfeeding in 1983, and the participants’ compassion and empathy were evaluated in 1997‒2012 (participants were aged 20‒50 years). Breastfeeding did not predict the course of compassion or empathy in adulthood at the age of 20‒50 years. The associations remained non‐significant, when adjusted for age, gender, socioeconomic factors, and a wide range of characteristics of the family environment (including mother’s gestational age; premature birth; birth weight; number of other children at home; parental mental disorder; parental relationship status; parental postnatal smoking; parental postnatal alcohol use; parenting behavior; and child’s externalizing behavior). In conclusion, breastfeeding seems not to predict offspring’s compassion or empathy in adulthood. The findings may present a hopeful perspective for children growing up with non‐breastfeeding caregivers.
- 515 Psykologi
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Saarinen, A. I. L., Keltikangas-Järvinen, L., Honda, Y., Oksman, E., Raitakari, O., Pulkki-Råback, L., & Hintsanen, M. (2020). Breastfeeding and offspring's compassion and empathy in adulthood: A study with an over 30-year follow-up. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 61(2), 227-236. https://doi.org/10.1111/sjop.12600