Article

Cross-cultural validating of the Empathy Quotient in a French-speaking sample

Department of Psychiatry for Adolescents and Young Adults, Institut Mutualiste Montsouris, University Rene Descartes, Paris, France.
Canadian journal of psychiatry. Revue canadienne de psychiatrie (Impact Factor: 2.41). 08/2008; 53(7):469-77.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The Empathy Quotient (EQ) is a self-report that was developed to measure the cognitive and affective aspects of empathy. We further evaluated its validity in 2 studies.
The psychometric qualities of the French version of the EQ, and its correspondence with 2 other measures of empathy (Interpersonal Reactivity Index and the Empathy Scale of the Impulsiveness-Venturesomeness-Empathy Questionnaire), and with dimensions of the emotional state (depression and anxiety), were evaluated in a sample of 410 students (201 men and 209 women). Second, the clinical validity of the EQ was investigated in participants expected to have dysfunctional empathy. For this purpose, EQ scores of 16 people with autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) were collected.
The EQ showed satisfying internal, convergent, test-retest and discriminant validity. The confirmatory factorial analyses suggested a 3-factor structure offered a good fit to the data. The women's superiority in empathy was replicated. As expected, the ASD EQ scores were very low.
This study provides further evidence that the EQ is reliable in this population and should be recommended to estimate empathy problems, notably in individuals with troubled interpersonal interaction patterns.

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    • "Note, however, that both alexithymia and empathy are complex concepts, and the distinction into an affective and a cognitive dimension in each of them is not considered unequivocal: A study by Bagby and colleagues failed to confirm the existence of two distinct alexithymia subtypes based on these two dimensions (Bagby et al., 2009), and due to the extensive interaction between cognitive and affective aspects of empathy, several researchers have either rejected the idea of these being separable concepts (Baron-Cohen and Wheelwright , 2004; Duan and Hill, 1996; Singer, 2006), or proposed to conceive of them in terms of different yet inherently interacting mechanisms contributing to different aspects of empathic resonance (Lamm and Majdandžić, 2015). Previous research indicates that individuals with high levels of alexithymia have pronounced deficits in both perspective taking and empathic concern (Berthoz et al., 2008; Feldmanhall et al., 2013; Grynberg et al., 2010; Guttman and Laporte, 2002; Silani et al., 2008; Vanheule et al., 2007; see Grynberg et al., 2012, for a review). This strong link can be explained in light of alexithymia being a deficit in the self-awareness of one's own feelings. "
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