Interpersonal Reactivity Index (IRI)

General Information on the Measure
Purpose of the measure

The IRI measures empathy in early and late adolescents.

Main constructs measured

Interpersonal competencies

Applicable grade levels

Ages 11-18

Publication year for the most recent version


Year originally developed


Related measures
Measure Administration


Method of administration


Number of items


Item format

Five-point Likert-type scale

Administration time

No information is available in the references reviewed.

Available languages


Fee for use Free and publicly available
Credentials required for administration


Overall score reporting

No overall scores are reported.

Subscore reporting

There are four subscores:

  • Fantasy
  • Perspective taking
  • Empathetic concern
  • Personal distress
Scoring procedures

The measure is self-scored.

Interpretive information

No information is available in the references reviewed.

Evidence of Technical Quality
Populations for which technical quality evidence has been collected

Adolescents (N=452) and students from psychology classes at the University of Texas at Austin (N=1,161).

Reliability evidence

Internal consistency (alpha) coefficients range from 0.68 to 0.79 (Davis, 1980). Test-retest reliability (60-75 day interval) ranged from 0.61 to 0.81 (Davis, 1980).

Validity evidence
Evidence based on content
Initial item pool contained some items adapted from other instruments including the Mehrabian & Epstein emotional empathy scale and Stotland's Fantasy-Empathy scale (Davis, 1980).
Evidence based on response processes
No information is available in the references reviewed.
Evidence based on internal structure
Exploratory factor analysis was used to substantiate the four-factor structure and to find evidence of configural measurement invariance across gender (Davis, 1980). There were significant differences between male and female scores on the four scales, with females displaying higher scores than their male counterparts (Davis, 1980), consistent with prior research and theory.
Evidence based on relations with other variables
No information is available in the references reviewed.
Locating the Measure
Obtaining a copy of the measure

Davis, M. H. "A multidimensional approach to individual differences in empathy," JSAS Catalog of Selected Documents in Psychology, Vol. 10, No. 85, 1980.


Measure summary updated October 3, 2018.