Empathy and Psychosocial Functioning in Adolescent

Rūta Pukinskaitė


The purpose of the present study was to examine empathy, social functioning social activity, social competence) and psychological adjustment of adolescents. Subjects were 198 adolescents (11-18 years old) in general educations schools. Dispositional empathy (Empathy index /EI/) was measured by the IRI subscales of Empathic Concern /EC/ (an affective response for the distressed other) and Perspective Taking /PT/ (the cognitive ability to see another`s perspective) (Davis A. M., 1983). Social and psychological functioning was assessed by the Youth Self- Report Scale (Achenbach T. M., 1991). Empathy measures were compared to some demographic characteristics of the adolescents (age, sex, parents` level of education, and location of residence) and school achievements of adolescents.
The study did not show significant relationships between adolescents` empathy and age, location of residence and parents` education. In the findings of empathy, the EI of female was higher than that of male. There was an relations between adolescents school achievements and EC, PT and Empathy index in general. As expected, empathy was negatively associated with behavior problems. Dispositional levels of PT are negatively and significantly related to aggression, delinquency and external behavioral in general. Those high EC were also found to be high on same internal problems: anxiety/depression, somatic complain.


empathy; perspective taking; empathic concern; social competence; aggressive behavior; delinquent behavior

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"Social Work" ISSN online 2029-2775 / ISSN print 1648-4789