Preliminary assessment of the psychometric properties of the Polish version of the Questionnaire to Assess Affective and Cognitive Empathy (QAACE) in Children
More details
Hide details
Faculty of Philosophy and Education, Catholic University of Eichstaett-Ingolstadt, Eichstaett, Germany
Faculty of Education, Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski University in Warsaw, Warsaw, Poland
Department of Psychology, Luther College, Decorah, IA, USA
Faculty of Education, The Cardinal Wyszynski University in Warsaw, Warsaw, Poland
Faculty of Arts and Educational Sciences, University of Silesia, Katowice, Poland
Institute of Pedagogy and Psychology, Warsaw Management University, Warsaw, Poland
Faculty of Educational Sciences, University of Bialystok, Bialystok, Poland
Submission date: 2022-09-28
Final revision date: 2023-03-29
Acceptance date: 2023-04-12
Online publication date: 2023-06-23
Corresponding author
Karol Konaszewski   

Faculty of Educational Sciences, University of Bialystok, Bialystok, Poland
This article reports the Polish adaptation of the Questionnaire to Assess Affective and Cognitive Empathy (QAACE) by Zoll and Enz – a multidimensional self-report questionnaire used to measure empathy in children aged 8-14. The QAACE is based on a two-factor cognitive-emotional model of empathy. It has a number of international adaptations and offers a convenient Polish-language tool for use with young children and adolescents.

Participants and procedure:
The sample consisted of 677 children aged 8-13. The survey was conducted on school premises, during classes, by an appro-priately prepared researcher.

Confirmatory factor analysis revealed a good fitting measurement model representing the original underlying factor struc-ture of the QAACE among Polish children. The reliability of the questionnaire as measured by Cronbach’s α and McDon-ald’s ω was good. The reliability of the scale as assessed by the test-retest method (after four weeks) was .80. We assessed the validity of the tool by analyzing the correlation of empathy with love and sadism. General empathy, as well as cogni-tive and affective empathy, is positively related to love. The hypothesis that sadism is significantly related to empathy was also partially confirmed. General empathy and affective empathy are negatively correlated with sadism, while there was no relationship between sadism and cognitive empathy.

The questionnaire is the first widely available tool of this type to examine empathy and its components appropriate for chil-dren and adolescents in Poland. The questionnaire can be a useful screening test for detecting children’s level of empathy.

Achenbach, T. M. (1992). Manual for child behavior checklist/2-3 and 1992 profile. University of Vermont.
Aiken, L. R. (1979). Relationships between the item difficulty and discrimination indexes. Educational and Psycho-logical Measurement, 39, 821–824.
Baron-Cohen, S., & Wheelwright, S. (2004). The empathy quotient: an investigation of adults with Asperger syn-drome or high functioning autism, and normal sex differences. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 34, 163–175,
Björkqvist, K., Österman, K., & Kaukiainen, A. (2000). Social intelligence: Empathy = aggression? Aggression and Violent Behavior, 5, 191–200.
Bryant, B. K. (1982). An index of empathy for children and adolescents. Child Development, 53, 413–425.
Byrne, B. M. (2016). Structural equation modeling with AMOS: Basic concepts, applications, and programming (3rd ed.). Routledge.
Chrysikou, E. G., & Thompson, W. J. (2016). “Assessing cognitive and affective empathy through the interpersonal reactivity index: an argument against a two-factor model”: Corrigendum. Assessment, 23, 778–778.
Cuff, B. M. P., Brown, S. J., Taylor, L., & Howat, D. J. (2016). Empathy: a review of the concept. Emotion Review, 8, 144–153.
Davis, M. H. (1983). Measuring individual differences in empathy: Evidence for a multidimensional approach. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 44, 113–126.
Davis, M. H. (1980). A multidimensional approach to individual differences in empathy. Retrieved from [accessed August 6, 2020].
Davis, M. H. (1994). Empathy: a social psychological approach. Westview Press.
Decety, J., & Jackson, P. L. (2004). The functional architecture of human empathy. Behavioral and Cognitive Neu-roscience Reviews, 3, 71–100.
Decety, J., & Jackson, P. L. (2006). A social-neuroscience perspective on empathy. Current Directions in Psycholog-ical Science, 15, 54–58.
Doherty, R. W. (1997). The emotional contagion scale: a measure of individual differences. Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, 21, 131–154.
Duan, C., & Hill, C. E. (1996). The current state of empathy research. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 43, 261–274.
Eisenberg, N., Eggum, N. D., & Di Giunta, L. (2010). Empathy-related responding: Associations with prosocial be-havior, aggression, and intergroup relations. Social Issues and Policy Review, 4, 143–180.
Erkut, S. (2010). Developing multiple language versions of instruments for intercultural research. Child Develop-ment Perspectives, 4, 19–24.
Feshbach, N. D. (1975). Empathy in children: Some theoretical and empirical considerations. The Counseling Psy-chologist, 5, 25–30.
Feshbach, N. D. (1979). Empathy training: a field study in affective education. In N. D. Feshbach & A. Fraczek (Eds.), Aggression and behavior change: Biological and social processes (pp. 234–249). Praeger Publishers.
Gallant, C. M. M., Lavis, L., & Mahy, C. E. V. (2020). Developing an understanding of others’ emotional states: Relations among affective theory of mind and empathy measures in early childhood. The British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 38, 151–166.
Garton, A. F., & Gringart, E. (2005). The development of a scale to measure empathy in 8-and 9-year old children. Australian Journal of Educational & Developmental Psychology, 5, 17–25.
Gerdes, K. E., Lietz, C. A., & Segal, E. A. (2011). Measuring empathy in the 21st century: Development of an empa-thy index rooted in social cognitive neuroscience and social justice. Social Work Research, 35, 83–93.
Harkness, J. A., Edwards, B., Hansen, S. E., Miller, D. R., & Villar, A. (2010). Designing questionnaires for mul-tipopulation research. In J. A. Harkness, M. Braun, B. Edwards, T. P. Johnson, L. Lyberg, P. P. Mohler, B. E. Pennell, & T. W. Smith (Eds.), Survey methods in multinational, multiregional, and multicultural contexts (pp. 31–57). John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Hoffman, M. L. (1982). Development of prosocial motivation: Empathy and guilt. In N. Eisenberg (Ed.) The Devel-opment of prosocial behavior (pp. 281–313). Elsevier.
Hoffman, M. L. (1985). Interaction of affect and cognition in empathy. In C. E. Izzard, J. Kagan, & R. B. Zajonc (Eds.) Emotions, cognition, and behavior (pp. 103–131). Cambridge University Press.
Hogan, R. (1969). Development of an empathy scale. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 33, 307–316.
Hu, L., & Bentler, P. M. (1999). Cutoff criteria for fit indexes in covariance structure analysis: Conventional crite-ria versus new alternatives. Structural Equation Modeling, 6, 1–55.
Janicka, I., & Niebrzydowski, L. (1994). Psychologia małżeństwa: Zafascynowanie partnerem, otwartość, empatia, miłość, seks [Psychology of marriage: Fascination with a partner, openness, empathy, love, sex]. Wydawnic-two Uniwersytetu Łódzkiego.
Jolliffe, D., & Farrington, D. P. (2005). Development and validation of the Basic Empathy Scale. Journal of Adoles-cence, 29, 589–611.
Kerr-Gaffney, J., Harrison, A., & Tchanturia, K. (2019). Cognitive and affective empathy in eating disorders: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 10, 102.
Kline, R. B. (2015). Principles and practice of structural equation modeling (4th ed.). The Guilford Press.
Melchers, M. C., Li, M., Haas, B. W., Reuter, M., Bischoff, L., & Montag, C. (2016). Similar personality patterns are associated with empathy in four different countries. Frontiers in Psychology, 7, 290.
Montag, C., Gallinat, J., & Heinz, A. (2008). Theodor Lipps and the concept of empathy: 1851-1914. The American Journal of Psychiatry, 165, 1261.
Overgaauw, S., Rieffe, C., Broekhof, E., Crone, E. A., & Güroğlu, B. (2017). Assessing empathy across childhood and adolescence: Validation of the Empathy Questionnaire for Children and Adolescents (EmQue-CA). Fron-tiers in Psychology, 8, 870.
Pajevic, M., Vukosavljevic-Gvozden, T., Stevanovic, N., & Neumann, C. S. (2018). The relationship between the dark tetrad and a two-dimensional view of empathy. Personality and Individual Differences, 123, 125–130.
Reid, C., Davis, H., Horlin, C., Anderson, M., Baughman, N., & Campbell, C. (2013). The Kids’ Empathic Develop-ment Scale (KEDS): a multi-dimensional measure of empathy in primary school-aged children. The British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 31, 231–256.
Reniers, R. L. E. P., Corcoran, R., Drake, R., Shryane, N. M., & Völlm, B. A. (2011). The QCAE: a Questionnaire of Cognitive and Affective Empathy. Journal of Personality Assessment, 93, 84–95.
Rogers, C. R. (1975). Empathic: an unappreciated way of being. The Counseling Psychologist, 5, 2–10.
Roth, E. (2020). Spanish adaptation and validation of the Zoll & Enz’s empathy questionnaire in Bolivian children. Ajayu. Órgano de Difusión Científica del Departamento de Psicología de la Universidad Católica Boliviana “San Pablo”, 18, 52–77.
Sebastian, C. L., Fontaine, N. M. G., Bird, G., Blakemore, S. J., Brito, S. A. D., McCrory, E. J. P., & Viding, E. (2012). Neural processing associated with cognitive and affective theory of mind in adolescents and adults. Social Cog-nitive and Affective Neuroscience, 7, 53–63.
Singer, T., & Klimecki, O. M. (2014). Empathy and compassion. Current Biology, 24, R875–R878.
Smith, T. W. (2008). Loving and caring in the United States: Trends and correlates of empathy, altruism, and relat-ed constructs. In B. Fehr, S. Sprecher, & L. G. Underwood (Eds.), The science of compassionate love: Theory, re-search, and applications (pp. 81–119). Wiley Blackwell.
Ulfik-Jaworska, I. (2003). Tendencje konstruktywne i destruktywne u dzieci korzystających z „agresywnych” gier komputerowych [Constructive and destructive tendencies in children using “aggressive” computer games] (Unpublished Ph.D. disertation). Instytut Psychologii KUL.
Vachon, D. D., & Lynam, D. R. (2016). Fixing the problem with empathy: Development and validation of the affec-tive and cognitive measure of empathy. Assessment, 23, 135–149.
Velicer, W. F. (1976). Determining the number of components from the matrix of partial correlations. Psy-chometrika, 41, 321–327.
Zoll, C., & Enz, S. (2005). A questionnaire to assess affective and cognitive empathy in children. Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg.
Zoll, C., & Enz, S. (2010). A questionnaire to assess affective and cognitive empathy in children. Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg.
Copyright: © Institute of Psychology, University of Gdansk This is an Open Access journal, all articles are distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) License (, allowing third parties to copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format and to remix, transform, and build upon the material, provided the original work is properly cited and states its license.
Journals System - logo
Scroll to top