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Journal Article

An Index of Empathy for Children and Adolescents

Brenda K. Bryant
Child Development
Vol. 53, No. 2 (Apr., 1982), pp. 413-425
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Society for Research in Child Development
DOI: 10.2307/1128984
https://www.jstor.org/stable/1128984
Page Count: 13
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An Index of Empathy for Children and Adolescents
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Abstract

This study presents the development and validation of an index of empathy for use with children and adolescents. 56 first graders, 115 fourth graders, and 87 seventh graders were studied. Item means, item-total correlations, test-retest reliabilities, correlations testing the relationship of empathy to aggressiveness and acceptance of individual differences, correlations testing the relationship of this adapted index of empathy to other existing measures of empathy as well as to social desirability response set and reading achievement formed the basis of internal, discriminant, convergent, and general construct validation. The measure demonstrated satisfactory reliability and preliminary construct validity. The study of a subset of items controlling for same-sex versus cross-sex stimulus figures provided the basis for investigating developmental aspects of empathic arousal toward peers of different sexes. Overall, the availability of comparable forms of a measure of empathy for use with children, adolescents, and adults will be useful for exploring the developmental antecedents and conditions surrounding the expression of emotional empathy.