Making a Better World from the Children’s Perspective: How to Make Compassion Contagious

  • Mona Sugianto
  • Zainal Abidin
  • Urip Purwono
  • Juke Siregar
Palabras clave: compassion, prosocial, helping, children, caring, better world


Compassion is recognized as one of the answers to create a better world, es- pecially due to its role in reducing the suffering and burden of fellow human beings. Children have unique perspectives and ways to play a role in making a better world. The purpose of this study was to describe from the perspec- tive of children, how compassion can be contagious in social life. A qualitative phenomenological approach was chosen to understand the experience of 629 subjects aged 12 to 18 years (Mean=14.88 years; 396 girls; and 233 boys), which obtained by the convenience sampling technique. Data were processed using the thematic analysis method. The results of this study have illustrat- ed that there are two major parts that are important to consider to make compassion contagious. The first part is things that need to be done, namely helping others, starting to be compassionate to others, loving others, caring more for others, respecting each other, building positive awareness and char- acter of ourselves, improving our relationships with God, becoming example of compassion itself for other children, the willingness to give, forgive, and work together. The second part contains things that should not be done if you want compassion to be contagious and spread in life, that is, you should not discriminate others, stop being selfish, stop being hostile to others, and stop all types of bullying behavior and oppression. So, the spreading of compassion is a must to create a better world. To spread compassion, children possess an excellent way by helping people in suffering and be compassionate. Children have a genuine way; they do not demand and wait for the other party to start the compassionate action. They start it from themselves, with the simple thing they can do, and do it spontaneously as soon as it is needed.

Biografía del autor/a

Mona Sugianto
Faculty of Psychology, Universitas Padjadjaran, Indonesia
Zainal Abidin
Faculty of Psychology, Universitas Padjadjaran, Indonesia
Urip Purwono
Faculty of Psychology, Universitas Padjadjaran, Indonesia
Juke Siregar
Faculty of Psychology, Universitas Padjadjaran, Indonesia


Acharya, A.S., Prakash, A., Saxeena, P., & Nigam, A. (2013). Sampling: Why and how of it?. Indian Journal of Medical Specialities, 4, 330-333. Barsade, S. G., Coutifaris, C. G. V., & Pillemer, J. (2018). Emotional contagion in organizational life. Research in Organizational Behavior. doi: 10.1016/j.riob. 2018.11.005

Bengtsson, H., Söderström, M., & Terjestam, Y. (2015). The structure and development of dispositional compassion in early adolescence. The Journal of Early Adolescence, 36(6), 840–873. doi:10.1177/0272431615594461

Braun, V. and Clarke, V. (2006) Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3 (2). pp. 77-101. ISSN 1478-0887.

Cavanagh, M.E. (1995). Rediscovering compassion. Journal of Religion and Health, 34, 317-327.

Cozby, P.C. (2005). Methods in behavioral research 9th Ed. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Creswell, J.W. (2014). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches 4th Ed. California: Sage Publication.

Cummings, J., & McPhail, S. (2014). Compassion in practice: a conta- gious condition. British Journal of Healthcare Assistants, 8 (11), 544–549. doi: 10.12968/ bjha.2014.8.11.544

Dunn, J., Cutting, A. L., & Demetriou, H. (2000). Moral sensibility, un- derstanding others, and children’s friendship interactions in the preschool period. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 18(2), 159–177. doi:10.1348/026151000165625

Etikan, I., Musa, S.A.,& Alkassim. R.S. (2016). Comparison of conven- ience sampling and purposive sampling. American Journal of Theoretical and Applied Statistics. 5, 1-4. doi: 10.11648/j.ajtas.20160501.11

Gilbert, P. (2017). Compassion: Concepts, research, and applications. New York: Routledge.

Greenberg, M. T., & Turksma, C. (2015). Understanding and watering the seeds of compassion. Research in Human Development, 12(3-4), 280–287. doi: 10.1080/15427609.2015.1068060

Hadegaard, M., Aronsson, K., Hojholt, C., & Skjaerulvik, O. (Ed). (2018). Children, childhood, and everyday life: Children’s perspectives (2nd Ed). USA: Information Age Publishing, Inc.

Hutchison, E. (2003). Dimensions of human behavior: The changing life course 2nd Ed. California: Sage Publications, Inc.

Jazaieri, H., Jinpa, G. T., McGonigal, K., Rosenberg, E. L., Finkelstein, J., Simon-Thomas, E., Goldin, P. R. (2012). Enhancing compassion: A randomized controlled trial of a compassion cultivation training program. Journal of Happiness Studies, 14(4), 1113–1126. doi:10.1007/s10902-012- 9373-z

Klimecki, O. M. (2019). The role of empathy and compas- sion in conflict resolution. Emotion Review, 175407391983860. doi:10.1177/1754073919838609 Nussbaum, M. (1996). Compas- sion: The Basic Social Emotion. Social Philosophy and Policy, 13(01), 27.doi:10.1017/s0265052500001515

Malti, T., Gasser, L., & Buchmann, M. (2009). Aggressive and prosocial children’s emotion attributions and moral reasoning. Aggressive Behavior, 35(1), 90–102. doi:10.1002/ab.20289

Mulvey, K. L., Hitti, A., & Killen, M. (2011). Morality, intentionality, and exclusion: How children navigate the social world. In M. Banaji & S. Gel- man (Eds.), Navigating the social world: What infants, children and other species can teach us. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Papalia, D.E. & Martorell, G. (2015). Experience human development 13th Ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Education.

Pietkiewicz, I. & Smith, J. (2014). A practical guide to using interpretative phenomenological analysis in qualitative research psychology. Czasopis- mo Psychologiczne -Psychological Journal, 20, 7-14.

Rashedi, R., Plante, T.G., Callister, E.S.(2015). Compassion development in higher education. Journal of Psychology and Theology, 43, 131-139.

Santrock. J.W. (2013). Lifespan development (14th Ed). New York: McGraw-Hill.

Spinrad, T. & Eisenberg, N. (2017). The Oxford handbook of compassion science. New York: Oxford University Press.

Sugianto, M., Abidin, Z., Purwono, U., Siregar, J. (2019). A world of suf- fering and the birth of compassion. Manuscript submitted for publication. Tsvetkova, M. & Macy, M.W. (2014). The social contagion of generosity. Plos One, 9, 1-9.

Cómo citar
Sugianto, M., Abidin, Z., Purwono, U., & Siregar, J. (2019). Making a Better World from the Children’s Perspective: How to Make Compassion Contagious. Opción, 35, 1102-1021. Recuperado a partir de