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Type of Measure: Children’s Empathy Quotient (EQ-C) is a 27-item parent-report questionnaire that was designed assess empathy among children with Autism Spectrum Conditions (ASC). The EQ questionnaire is Likert format and contains a list of statements about real life situations, experiences, and interests where empathizing abilities are required. Where possible, questions were phrased to ask about engagement and/or preference for activities in which both boys and girls would typically participate. In order to tap into the extreme ends of the spectrum, some items ask about relatively rare behaviors (such as bullying or reactions to the death of a movie character). Parents are asked to indicate how strongly they agree with each statement about their child by ticking one of several options: ‘definitely agree’, ‘slightly agree’, ‘slightly disagree’, or ‘definitely disagree’. The maximum attainable score for instrument is 54.

Target Population: Children with normal intelligence ages 5 - 11

Measurement properties and previous use:

Auyeung et al. (2009) examined the EQ-C’s psychometric properties within a sample compromised of parents with typically developing children (n = 1,256) and parents of children with ASC. In the typically developing group, the EQ-C showed a broad range of responses, high internal consistency (coefficient alpha = 0.93) and good test–retest reliability. Six months after initial contact, n = 500 participants were asked to complete a second copy of the EQ-C in resulting in 258 test–retest pairs (133 girls, 125 boys). For the EQ-C, the intra-class correlation between the two tests was 0.86 (single measures) (p < 0.001).

A one-way between subjects ANOVA was conducted to examine if group (typical girls, typical boys and ASC) differences existed. There was a significant difference between groups (F(2,1518) = 806.89, p < 0.001). Post hoc Tukey HSD tests showed significant differences between all three groups (all p < 0.001) with typical girls scoring the highest (M = 40.16, SD = 8.89), followed by typical boys (M = 34.84, SD = 10.07) and the ASC group scoring the lowest (M = 13.97, SD = 6.82)

Girls scored higher than boys on the EQ-C, where sex was shown to have a medium effect size (d = 0.56) on score. The results from the EQ-C support previous studies demonstrating sex differences in childhood, suggesting that girls exhibit more empathic behavior than boys. Children with ASC scored much lower than typically developing children on the EQ-C. The group differences in EQ-C scores showed a large effect size (d = 2.80) between typically developing boys and children with ASC, suggesting that the EQ-C questionnaire is capable of detecting the poor empathizing typically associated with ASC.

Languages: English

Authors and Citation: Auyeung, B., Wheelwright, S., Allison, C., Atkinson, M., Samarawickrema, N., & Baron-Cohen, S. (2009). The children’s empathy quotient and systemizing quotient: Sex differences in typical development and in autism spectrum conditions. Journal of autism and developmental disorders, 39(11), 1509.

Licence: This measure is freely available online, and may be used along with proper citiation. You are welcome to download these tests provided that they are used for genuine research purposes, and provided due acknowledgement of Autism Research Centre (ARC) as the source is given.

Link to measure: Children’s Empathizing Quotient (EQ-C)

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