An Assessment of Links Between Components of Empathy and Interpersonal Problems

  • Tiffany M. Lange Spalding University
  • Laurie L. Couch Morehead State University


Four components of empathy were assessed to determine their contribution to six common interpersonal problems. A sample of 251 undergraduate students (129 women, 122 men) were administered the Inventory of Interpersonal Problems (IIP) and the Interpersonal Reactivity Index (IRI) in order to evaluate the link between these measures. Regression analyses were used to evaluate which component of empathy was the greatest contributor to the interpersonal problems. Personal distress was found to contribute to difficulties in being assertive, sociable, submissive, responsible, and too controlling. Low perspective taking contributed to problems with submissiveness, control, sociability, and intimacy. Results are discussed in terms of their application to counseling those with interpersonal problems.


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