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20-01-2016 | Original Article | Uitgave 6/2016

Child Psychiatry & Human Development 6/2016

The Differential Relations Between Empathy and Internalizing and Externalizing Symptoms in Inpatient Adolescents

Tijdschrift:
Child Psychiatry & Human Development > Uitgave 6/2016
Auteurs:
Malgorzata Gambin, Carla Sharp

Abstract

Impaired empathy is associated with a variety of psychiatric conditions; however, little is known about the differential relations between certain forms of psychopathology and cognitive and affective empathy in adolescent girls and boys. The aim of this study was to examine the relations between externalizing and internalizing disorders and cognitive and affective empathy, respectively, while controlling for covariance among different forms of psychopathology, separately in girls and boys. A total of 507 inpatient adolescents (319 girls and 188 boys) in the age range of 12–17 years completed the Basic Empathy Scale that measures affective and cognitive empathy. The Youth Self-Report Form and Child Behavior Checklist were used to assess the severity of psychopathological symptoms. Results demonstrated that affective and cognitive empathy were negatively associated with conduct problems only in girls, but not in boys. Affective empathy was positively related to internalizing problems observed by parents and youths and self-reported ADHD symptoms in girls and boys. The clinical implications of these differential relationships for externalizing versus internalizing symptoms and empathy are discussed.

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