Appraisal of Empathy Among Adults with Different Degrees of Diagnosed Asperger'S Disorder

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)



Date of Award

Fall 2012


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the degree of similarities and/or differences that may exist between self-reported responses from participants diagnosed with Asperger's disorder to responses of a familial other of the participant with respect to assessing empathy. The participants were adults previously diagnosed with Asperger's disorder and their matched familial other. The participants with Asperger's disorder rated their own empathy as measured by Empathy Quotient (EQ) (Baron-Cohen, & Wheelwright, 2004), from Autism Research Centre (ARC), and traits of Asperger's disorder as measured by Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ) (Baron-Cohen, Wheelwright, Skinner, Martin, & Clubley, 2001), from Autism Research Centre (ARC). The familial others completed an EQ regarding their perceptions of the diagnosed individual's level of empathy. The results showed that participants' self-rated empathy was greater than ratings from familial others. A low correlation between the self-report EQ rating and familial other rating on EQ illustrated a low relationship between the two responses. A multiple regression indicated a statistically significant relationship between EQ scores of adult participants diagnosed with Asperger's disorder and the perceptions of the construct of empathy of familial others on EQ scores on AQ. The EQ score of diagnosed participants was a statistically significant predictor of AQ whereas, the EQ score of the familial others' perceptions was not significant. Therefore, results illustrated that self-report of EQ by the participants with the diagnosis of Asperger's disorder was a stronger predictor of AQ, and the familial others report of the diagnosed participant was not as relevant. Furthermore, the negative correlation indicated that people who scored higher on EQ scored lower on AQ. The results of a MANOVA illustrated a statistically significant effect between different levels of AQ score (high and low AQ score) and the two dependent variables (EQ self score and EQ familial scores). The individuals who scored low on AQ and both self-report and familial other report on EQ illustrated higher empathy. Therefore, the results illustrated a significant relationship between the participant diagnosed with Asperger's disorder and the participants' self-report of EQ score.


Linda Hawkins Ball

Subject Categories

Counseling | Social and Behavioral Sciences