A Relationship between the Broader Autism Phenotype and empathy among students





The broader autism phenotype, empathy, empathic concern, perspective taking, personal distress


Previous research has shown that persons with a higher level of the broad autism phenotype (BAP) experience deficits in empathy. The aim of the present study is to investigate a multivariate relationship between the BAP and different aspects of empathy. In a sample of 293 university students, we explored the relationship between the BAP and the following aspects of empathy: fantasy, empathic concern, perspective taking, and personal distress. The BAP level was measured using The Broad Autism Phenotype Questionnaire, and the Interpersonal Reactivity Index was used for multidimensional assessment of empathy disposition. Canonical correlation analysis yielded two functions (Function 1  ̶ Rc2 = 18.27%, Function 2  ̶  Rc2 = 11.02%). In Function 1, Interpersonal Reactivity Index dimensions Personal Distress (rs = -.93) and Perspective Taking (rs = .36) are associated significantly with two domains of the BAP (Rigid and Pragmatic Language Deficits). In Function 2, Interpersonal Reactivity Index dimensions Empathic Concern (rs = -.78), Fantasy (rs = -.47) and Perspective Taking (rs = -.53) are related to the Aloof domain of the BAP. The results imply that the relationship between BAP and empathy differs for different aspects of these two constructs. The more detailed understanding of the relationship between BAP and empathy obtained through the multivariate approach provides a basis from which to create programs for the more efficient promotion of empathy skills.


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Author Biographies

Bojan Z. Dučić, University of Belgrade ̶ Faculty of special education and rehabilitation

Specijalna edukacija i rehabilitacija osoba sa teškoćama u mentalnom razvoju, docent

Svetlana S. Kaljača , University of Belgrade ̶ Faculty of special education and rehabilitation

Specijalna edukacija i rehabilitacija osoba sa teškoćama u mentalnom razvoju, redovni profesor

Irena B. Stojković, University of Belgrade ̶ Faculty of special education and rehabilitation

Katedra pedagoških, socioloških i psiholoških predmeta, vanredni profesor


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How to Cite

Dučić, B., Kaljača, S., & Stojković, I. (2022). A Relationship between the Broader Autism Phenotype and empathy among students. Primenjena Psihologija, 15(3), 383–407. https://doi.org/10.19090/pp.v15i3.2381