Date of Award

Spring 2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


College of Education


Department of Education

Primary Advisor

Dr. James Anderson

Second Advisor

Dr. Thomas Gollery

Third Advisor

Dr. Darshon Reed


The Empathy Assessment Index (EAI), an instrument based on the social cognitive neuroscience conceptualization of empathy, is a measure of interpersonal empathy with five components: affective response, self-other awareness, perspective taking, affective mentalizing, and emotion regulation. However, the most recently added component, affective mentalizing, has demonstrated high correlations with perspective taking. The high correlations may indicate a lack of discriminant validity within the index. This non-experimental, quantitative, and cross-sectional study aimed to determine whether the factor structure of the 22-Item EAI is a correlated five-component model. A snowball sample of 929 community members completed the 22-Item EAI as an online survey housed in SurveyMonkey. The hypothesized five-component model was examined with a confirmatory factor analysis in a random subsample (n = 300) of the valid dataset (N = 903). Findings indicated that a five correlated model of the 22-Item EAI had inadequate or poor model fit: χ2(199) = 605.41; NC = 3.04; RMSEA = .08 [.08, .09]; CFI = .80; TLI = .77; SRMR = 0.08. The findings suggest that additional research is needed to establish the underlying factor structure of the 22-Item EAI. Future studies should include exploratory factor analysis and confirmatory factor analysis to determine the best model fit of the index. The results of studies that have used the 22-Item EAI as a five-component model should be interpreted with caution. Keywords: Empathy Assessment Index, empathy, confirmatory factor analysis, affective mentalizing, perspective taking, measurement