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Adaptation and development of the Empathy Assessment Index (EAI)
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of applied educational science, Departement of Educational Measurement.
2015 (English)In: International Journal of Comparative and Applied Criminal Justice, ISSN 0192-4036, E-ISSN 2157-6475, Vol. 39, no 3, 239-255 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The purpose of this study was to adapt and develop a multidimensional measure of interpersonal empathy, the Empathy Assessment Index (EAI). The EAI is a self-report measure developed in the US that is applicable in most contexts where empathy is considered a relevant construct. The focus of this work is on professions dealing with complex interpersonal situations, such as the police or other professions that can be categorized as street-level bureaucrats. The added value of the EAI relative to previous measures of interpersonal empathy stems from its incorporation of subconstructs such as self-other awareness (SOA) and emotion regulation (ER) to augment the cognitive dimension of empathy. The Swedish version of the EAI was administered to a sample of 330 participants, most of whom were police recruits. An exploratory factor analysis identified a four-factor structure, which was supported by a confirmatory factor analysis. The factors identified in the analysis were affective response, SOA, perspective taking (PT), and ER. Evidence for the scale?s concurrent validity was established in relation to the empathic concern and PT subscales from the Interpersonal Reactivity Index. The adapted version of the EAI will be used in further studies within the police context.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 39, no 3, 239-255 p.
Keyword [en]
empathy, police profession, street-level bureaucrats, adaptation, measurement, validity
National Category
Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-111040DOI: 10.1080/01924036.2014.989245OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-111040DiVA: diva2:866300
Available from: 2015-11-02 Created: 2015-11-02 Last updated: 2015-11-02Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Suitability in law enforcement: Assessing multifaceted selection criteria
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Suitability in law enforcement: Assessing multifaceted selection criteria
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

When selecting applicants for professions with job descriptions involving complex human interaction, identifying suitable candidates is essential. This strongly applies in police selection, because police officers must act appropriately at all times, deal with difficult and sometimes dangerous work situations, and come into contact with people who are in highly emotional states, such as anxiety, fear, excitement, and shock. However, suitability is a broad and vague concept that cannot be even defined without understanding the value of various personal skills and qualities for specific duties, ways that such skills are manifested during life as an officer (potentially both on- and off-duty), and appropriate ways to assess them.

The overall aim of this thesis was to explore the personal skills and qualities that are relevant to suitability for the police profession with a special focus on the concept of empathy, and to investigate how it can be conceptualized and measured in the context of selection. Two of the four studies focused on different perspectives regarding the personal skills and qualities of a good police officer, while the other two focused on theoretical aspects and practical measurement of empathy.

Mixed methods were used, in acknowledgement of the value of using different forms of data collection, material, and analytical methods to achieve valid information.

The results and findings support several of the personal skills and qualities that have been identified in previous research and also can be found as criteria in police selection. Empathy should be considered in the selection process, but it is also important to ensure that there is an alignment between the definition of the concept and practical outcomes in police work. The findings indicate that empathy could be conceptualized in a relevant way using a social cognitive neuroscience (SCN) approach. In particular, a modified, Swedish 4-factor version of the Empathy Assessment Index (based on recent theoretical advances in SCN) appears to have considerable potential for further development.

Future studies will focus on areas identified as requiring further research, such as the development of this instrument by adding complementary measures focusing on manifestations of empathy and other relevant qualities in actual work-related situations. Other aspects that require further attention include the definition, assessment, and impact of social desirability in selection contexts.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet, 2015. 52 p.
Series
Academic dissertations at the department of Educational Measurement, ISSN 1652-9650 ; 8
Keyword
selection criteria, measurement, empathy, self-report instrument, validity, interpersonal qualities
National Category
Learning
Research subject
didactics of educational measurement
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-111044 (URN)978-91-7601-373-1 (ISBN)
Public defence
2015-11-27, Hörsal F, Humanisthuset, Umeå universitet, Umeå, 10:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2015-11-03 Created: 2015-11-02 Last updated: 2015-11-02Bibliographically approved

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Inzunza, Miguel
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