A Preliminary Study of Empathy in Romanian College Students

Open access


The Interpersonal Reactivity Index is a self-report instrument used for assessing empathy. The theoretical model of empathy for IRI assumes that empathy is multidimensional in nature containing affective aspects (Empathic Concern and Personal Distress) and cognitive aspects (Perspective Taking and Fantasy). The objective of this study was to compare the level of empathy in Romanian college students to the level of empathy in American college students and to compare empathy in college students based on gender and field of study. The IRI was administered to a sample of 216 Romanian college students. We were interested only on Empathic Concern and Perspective Taking scales. The results revealed that Empathic Concern in Romanian college students is lower than in American college students, women score higher than men on the two scales used and students studying at humanities colleges have a higher Perspective Taking than students studying at science colleges. Our suggestion as a result of this study is to introduce more classes in the curriculum at the elementary school level to teach children empathy using diverse methods.

[1] http://insp.gov.ro/sites/cnepss/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Analiza-de-situatie-2015-7.pdf

[2] http://salvaticopiii.ro/upload/p000600010001_Salvati%20Copiii_Raport%20bullying.pdf

[3] Chopik, W. J., O’Brien, E., & Konrath, S. H., Differences in Empathic Concern and Perspective Taking Across 63 Countries, Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 48. 23- 38, 2016.

[4] Konrath, S. H., Ho, M., & Zarins, S., The strategic helper: Narcissism and prosocial motives and behaviors, Current Psychology, 35, 182-194, 2016.

[5] Coke, J., Batson, D., & McDavis, K, Empathic mediation of helping: A two-stage model, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 36, 752-766, 1978.

[6] Batson, C. D., The altruism question: Toward a social psychological answer, Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1991.

[7] Eisenberg, N., & Miller, P. A., Empathy and prosocial behavior, Psychological Bulletin, 101, 91-119, 1987.

[8] Levenson R.W., Rueff, A.M., Empathy: A physiological substrate, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 63, 234-346, 1992.

[9] Kohler, W., Gestalt psychology, New York: Liveright, 1929.

[10] Ickes W., Stinson L., Bissonnette, V., Garcia, S., Naturalistic social cognition: Empathic accuracy in mixed-sex dyads, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 59, 730-742, 1990.

[11] Davis, M. H., Measuring individual differences in empathy: Evidence for a multidimensional approach, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 44, 113-126, 1983.

[12] Hogan, R., Development of an empathy scale, Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 33(3), 307-316, 1969.

[13] Iannotti, R., The elements of empathy. Paper presented at the Biennial meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development, San Francisco, 4, 1979.

[14] Davis, M. H., Empathy: A social psychological approach, CO: Westview Press, 1994.

[15] Davis, M. H., A multidimensional approach to individual differences in empathy. JSAS Catalog of Selected Documents in Psychology, 10, 85, 1980.

[16] Santos, H. C., Varnum, M. E. W., & Grossmann, I., Global Increases in Individualism Preprint. Retrieved from osf.io/hynwh, March, 2017.

[17] Goleman, D., Emotional Intelligence: Why it can matter more than IQ, London: Bloomsbury, 1996.

[18] Rueckert, L., Gender differences in empathy. In Psychology of Empathy, 221-234, 2011.

[19] Knickmeyer, R., Baron-Cohen, S., Raggatt, P., Taylor, K., & Hackett, G., Fetal testosterone and empathy, Hormones and Behavior, 49, 282-292, 2006.

Journal Information

Target Group researchers in the fields of political and financial law


All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 118 118 7
PDF Downloads 58 58 5