Characteristics of Empathy in young people measured by the Spanish validation of the Basic Empathy Scale

  1. Manuel Villadangos 1
  2. José Errasti 1
  3. Isaac Amigo 1
  4. Darrick Jolliffe 2
  5. Eduardo García-Cueto 1
  1. 1 Universidad de Oviedo (España)
  2. 2 University of Greenwich

    University of Greenwich

    Londres, Reino Unido



ISSN: 0214-9915

Year of publication: 2016

Volume: 28

Issue: 3

Pages: 323-329

Type: Article

More publications in: Psicothema


Background: Empathy is a personality feature that can play a major role in predicting the emotional and social functioning of adolescents (Jolliffe & Farrington, 2006). Recent research confirms the existence of two fundamental dimensions embedded within this construct, Affective Empathy (experiencing a congruent emotional response with another person) and Cognitive Empathy (understanding rationally the emotions of another person). The Basic Empathy Scale (Jolliffe & Farrington, 2006) is an up-to-date instrument which has been reported to satisfactorily measure these two dimensions. Method: We used a sample of 752 adolescents (339 males, 413 females) aged 14-25 who completed the Spanish adaptation of BES. Results: Confirmatory factor analysis showed that the Spanish adaptation of the scale had the same bi-factorial structure as the original (CFI = .93). This adaptation also showed both satisfactory reliability (Cronbach’s alpha coefficient > .92) and discriminant and convergent validity with regard to measurements of Narcissism, Psychoticism and Agreeableness. Females were found to have higher scores than males both in Affective and Cognitive Empathy. Both subscales show a direct significant correlation with age. Conclusions: The evidence suggested that this revised scale possessed good psychometric properties for evaluating empathy in Spanish young people.

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