A Preliminary Study of Empathy in Romanian College Students

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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.

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