Interpersonal Reactivity Index for Couples (IRIC)

Interpersonal Reactivity Index for Couples (IRIC) is a 13-item measure of cognitive and emotional empathic tendencies between partners in the context of intimate relationships that was adapted from the Interpersonal Reactivity Index (Davis, 1980). The IRIC contains two subscales: Empathic Concern and Perspective Taking.


Geographies Tested: Canada

Populations Included: Female, Male

Age Range: Adults


The following statements inquire about your thoughts and feelings in a variety of situations occurring in your relationship with your partner. For each item, indicate how well it describes you by circling the appropriate number.

Empathic Concern scale

1. I often have tender, concerned feelings for my partner when he/she is less fortunate than me.
2. Sometimes I don't feel very sorry for my partner when he/she is having problems.*
3. When I see my partner being taken advantage of, I feel kind of protective towards him/her.
4. My partner's misfortunes do not usually disturb me a great deal.*
5. When I see my partner being treated unfairly, I sometimes don't feel very much pity for him/her.*
6. I am often quite touched by things I see happen in my relationship.
7. In my relationship with my partner, I would describe myself as a pretty soft-hearted person.

Perspective Taking scale

8. I try to look at my partner's side of a disagreement before I made a decision.
9. I sometimes try to understand my partner better by imagining how things look from his/her perspective.
10. If I'm sure I'm right about something, I don't waste much time listening to my partner's arguments.*
11. In my relationship, I believe that there are two sides to every question and try to look at them both.
12. When I'm upset at my partner, I usually try to "put myself in his/her shoes" for a while.
13. Before criticizing my partner, I try to imagine how I would feel if I were in his/her place.

Response Options:
5-point Likert scale
Does not describe me well - 0
Describes me very well - 4

*Items are reverse scored

Scoring Procedures

The sum of each subscale is calculated. Higher scores indicate greater perspective taking and empathic concern.

Original Citation

Péloquin, K., & Lafontaine, M. F. (2010). Measuring empathy in couples: validity and reliability of the Interpersonal Reactivity Index for couples. Journal of Personality Assessment, 92(2), 146-157.

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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