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Suitability of a three-dimensional model to measure empathy and its relationship with social and normative adjustment in Spanish adolescents: a cross-sectional study

Suitability of a three-dimensional model to measure empathy and its relationship with social and normative adjustment in Spanish adolescents: a cross-sectional study

Herrera-López, Mauricio, Gómez-Ortiz, Olga, Ortega-Ruiz, Rosario, Jolliffe, Darrick ORCID: 0000-0003-4590-6343 and Romera, Eva M. (2017) Suitability of a three-dimensional model to measure empathy and its relationship with social and normative adjustment in Spanish adolescents: a cross-sectional study. BMJ Open, 7 (9):e015347. ISSN 2044-6055 (Online) (doi:https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2016-015347)

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Abstract

Objectives:
(1) To examine the psychometric properties of the Basic Empathy Scale (BES) with Spanish adolescents, comparing a two and a three-dimensional structure;(2) To analyse the relationship between the three-dimensional empathy and social and normative adjustment in school.

Design:
Transversal and ex post facto retrospective study. Confirmatory factorial analysis, multifactorial invariance analysis and structural equations models were used.

Participants:
747 students (51.3% girls) from Cordoba, Spain, aged 12–17 years (M=13.8; SD=1.21).

Results:
The original two-dimensional structure was confirmed (cognitive empathy, affective empathy), but a three-dimensional structure showed better psychometric properties, highlighting the good fit found in confirmatory factorial analysis and adequate internal consistent valued, measured with Cronbach’s alpha and McDonald’s omega. Composite reliability and average variance extracted showed better indices for a three-factor model. The research also showed evidence of measurement invariance across gender. All the factors of the final three-dimensional BES model were direct and significantly associated with social and normative adjustment, being most strongly related to cognitive empathy.

Conclusions:
This research supports the advances in neuroscience, developmental psychology and psychopathology through a three-dimensional version of the BES, which represents an improvement in the original two-factorial model. The organisation of empathy in three factors benefits the understanding of social and normative adjustment in adolescents, in which emotional disengagement favours adjusted peer relationships. Psychoeducational interventions aimed at improving the quality of social life in schools should target these components of empathy.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Open Access. This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See: http://creativecommons.org/ licenses/by-nc/4.0/
Uncontrolled Keywords: Spanish adolescents; Basic empathy scale
Subjects: K Law > K Law (General)
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Architecture, Computing & Humanities
Faculty of Architecture, Computing & Humanities > Department of Law
Last Modified: 10 Jun 2019 14:37
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
Selected for GREAT 2019: None
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/18102

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