Bryant Empathy Scales for Children

General Information on the Measure
Purpose of the measure

The Bryant Empathy Scales were designed to measure empathy in children and adolescents in order to foster an understanding of how empathy develops and how it relates to social development.

Main constructs measured

Interpersonal competencies

Applicable grade levels

Children and adolescents

Publication year for the most recent version


Year originally developed


Related measures
Measure Administration


Method of administration


Number of items


Item format

Yes/No, nine-point Likert-type items

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

The overall Empathy score is reported.

Subscore reporting

No subscores are reported.

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

There are two samples of this measure. The first sample included first, fourth, and seventh graders (N=258) from parochial schools in a western state. The second sample included first and seventh graders from a large public middle school (N=166).

Reliability evidence

Internal consistency was estimated separately by grade. Estimates ranged from 0.54 to 0.79. Test-retest reliabilities were estimated separately by grade and ranged from 0.74 to 0.85 (Bryant, 1982).

Validity evidence
Evidence based on content
Items were adapted from a previously constructed measure used with adults developed by Mehrabian and Epstein (1972) (Bryant, 1982).
Evidence based on response processes
No information is available in the references reviewed.
Evidence based on internal structure
No information is available in the references reviewed.
Evidence based on relations with other variables
The empathy index related to measures of aggressiveness in first- and fourth-grade boys and measures of acceptance of individual differences for all age groups. The empathy index also correlated with adult empathy measures (Bryant, 1982; Mehrabian & Epstein, 1972; Feshbach & Roe, 1968).
Locating the Measure
Obtaining a copy of the measure

Bryant, Brenda K. "An Index of Empathy for Children and Adolescents," Child Development, Vol. 53, No. 2, 1982, pp. 413–25.

Mehrabian, A. & Epstein, N. "A measure of emotional empathy," Journal of Personality, Vol. 40, No. 4, 1972, pp. 525–543.

Feshbach, N. & Roe, K. "Empathy in six- and seven- year olds," Child Development, Vol. 29, 1968, pp. 133–145.


Measure summary updated October 3, 2018.