Science University Research Symposium (SURS)


Development and Validation of an Empathy Questionnaire measuring Cognitive and Affective Traits

Publication Date

Fall 11-30-2023


Sciences and Mathematics, College of


Psychological Science, Department of

SURS Faculty Advisor

Jessica Hocking

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation


The current study seeks to develop and validate a quantitative measure of empathy. Definitions of empathy vary (Stern, 2021, Brett, 2023), but for the purpose of this study, we defined empathy as the ability to perceive and sympathize with the thoughts, emotions, and feelings of another person. Higher levels of empathy are linked with supportive social behavior, and lower levels of stress in college students (Stern, 2021). Previous empathy scales, such as the Perth Empathy Scale (Brett et al., 2023), have divided empathy into cognitive and affective abilities. Our scale will use this structure, while further specifying the cognitive and affective abilities that pertain to empathy. In this study, we are developing 5 subscales that pertain to empathy, which include acceptance, communication, perspective-taking, compassion, and sensitivity. We hypothesize that each subscale of our scale will demonstrate strong psychometric properties, including internal consistency and inter-item correlation. We also hypothesize that our scale will be significantly associated with high levels of perspective-taking and sensitivity, specifically scored using the Perspective Taking Scale (Cohen, 1988) and the Sensitivity Scale (You, et. al. 2021). Lastly, we hypothesize that our empathy scale will significantly predict stress in emerging adults. Results and implications are forthcoming.

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