Developing the Social Empathy Index: An Exploratory Factor Analysis

  • Elizabeth A. Segal Arizona State University
  • M. Alex Wagaman Arizona State University
  • Karen E. Gerdes Arizona State Univeristy
Keywords: Social empathy, individual empathy, social change, instrument validation


Social empathy, the ability to understand people from different socioeconomic classes and racial/ethnic backgrounds, with insight into the context of institutionalized inequalities and disparities, can inspire positive societal change and promote social well-being. The value of teaching social empathy and creating interventions that promote social empathy is enhanced by the ability to measure and assess it. This article provides a validation of the Social Empathy Index, a tool that practitioners can easily use to assess individuals’ levels of interpersonal and social empathy. An exploratory factor analysis was used to validate the instrument and confirm the conceptual model for social empathy.

Author Biographies

Elizabeth A. Segal, Arizona State University
School of Social Work Professor
M. Alex Wagaman, Arizona State University
School of Social Work Doctoral Candidate
Karen E. Gerdes, Arizona State Univeristy
School of Social Work Associate Professor