Empathy Assessment Index (EAI)

The Empathy Assessment Index (EAI) is a 17-item measure of empathy, rooted in a social cognitive neuroscience conceptualization. The index contains items across 5 components: affective response, self–other awareness, perspective taking, emotion regulation, and empathic attitudes.


Geographies Tested: United States of America

Populations Included: Female, Male

Age Range: Adolescents, Adults


1. I can imagine what it’s like to be in someone else’s shoes.
2. If a person is poor, I believe it is the result of bad personal choices.
3. I believe adults who are poor deserve social assistance.
4. I am aware of my thoughts.
5. Watching a happy movie makes me feel happy.
6. I can tell the difference between someone else’s feelings and my own.
7. When I am with a happy person, I feel happy myself.
8. When I am upset or unhappy, I get over it quickly.
9. I can explain to others how I am feeling.
10. I can agree to disagree with other people.
11. Emotional evenness describes me well.
12. Friends view me as a moody person.
13. I can imagine what the character is feeling in a well written book.
14. Hearing laughter makes me smile.
15. I think society should help out adults in need.
16. I watch other people’s feelings without being overwhelmed by them.
17. I can simultaneously consider my point of view and another person’s point of view.

Response Options:
6-point Likert scale
Never - 1
Always - 6

Scoring Procedures

Items are separated by subscale as follows: Perspective Taking (items 1, 10, 13, 17), Empathic Attitudes (items 2, 3, 15), Self-Other Awareness (items 4, 6, 9), Affective Response (items 5, 7, 14), Emotion Regulation (items 8, 11, 12, 16), Mean scores are calculated for each subscale and for the 17-item measure.

Original Citation

Lietz, C. A., Gerdes, K. E., Sun, F., Geiger, J. M., Wagaman, M. A., & Segal, E. A. (2011). The Empathy Assessment Index (EAI): A confirmatory factor analysis of a multidimensional model of empathy. Journal of the Society for Social Work and Research, 2(2), 104-124.

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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