Toronto Empathy Questionnaire

The Toronto Empathy Questionnaire is a 16-item measure of empathy, that assesses an individual’s ability to understand and respond adaptively to others’ emotions, succeed in emotional communication, and promote pro-social behavior.


Geographies Tested: Canada

Populations Included: Female, Male

Age Range: Adolescents, Adults


  1. When someone else is feeling excited, I tend to get excited too
  2. Other people’s misfortunes do not disturb me a great deal
  3. It upsets me to see someone being treated disrespectfully
  4. I remain unaffected when someone close to me is happy
  5. I enjoy making other people feel better
  6. I have tender, concerned feelings for people less fortunate than me
  7. When a friend starts to talk about his\her problems, I try to steer the conversation towards something else
  8. I can tell when others are sad even when they do not say anything
  9. I find that I am “in tune” with other people’s moods
  10. I do not feel sympathy for people who cause their own serious illnesses
  11. I become irritated when someone cries
  12. I am not really interested in how other people feel
  13. I get a strong urge to help when I see someone who is upset
  14. When I see someone being treated unfairly, I do not feel very much pity for them
  15. I find it silly for people to cry out of happiness
  16. When I see someone being taken advantage of, I feel kind of protective towards him \her

Response Options:
Never - 0
Rarely - 1
Sometimes - 2
Often - 3
Always - 4

Scoring Procedures

Scores are summed to derive total for the Toronto Empathy Questionnaire.

Original Citation

Spreng*, R. N., McKinnon*, M. C., Mar, R. A., & Levine, B. (2009). The Toronto Empathy Questionnaire: Scale development and initial validation of a factor-analytic solution to multiple empathy measures. Journal of personality assessment, 91(1), 62-71.

Psychometric Score

Ease of Use Score

Scoring breakdown

Formative Research

Qualitative Research

Existing Literature/Theoretical Framework

Field Expert Input

Cognitive Interviews / Pilot Testing








Criterion (gold-standard)



Ease of Use


Scoring Clarity


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