Objectives: The Griffith Empathy Measure (GEM) is a self-report measure of empathy. The current study aimed to explore the reliability and validity of the Chinese version of the GEM. It also aimed to compare individuals with and without schizotypal personality disorder (SPD) features on various components of empathy.
Methods: 420 college students from Beijing and 526 college students from Guangzhou completed a set of questionnaires that measured empathy and schizotypal personality disorder traits. Cronbach's coefficient alpha was used to evaluate the internal consistency of the GEM. Construct validity was evaluated using exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses (EFA and CFA). Construct validity was also examined by looking at the relationship between the GEM and the Interpersonal Reactivity Index (IRI). Finally, the sensitivity of the GEM was evaluated by comparing the total and factor GEM scores between individuals with and without SPD traits.
Results: The Chinese GEM showed good internal consistency (Cronbach's alpha = 0.83). Results of an exploratory factor analysis suggested a three-factor model consisting of cognitive, affective and behavioural empathy components. Results of a confirmatory factor analysis showed that the three-factor model, as well as the two-factor model found in the English version, were both acceptable. Construct validity (specifically convergent validity) was also corroborated by significant correlations between the IRI subscales and GEM (personal distress: r = .09, p > .05; perspective taking: r = .34, p < .01; fantasy: r = .44, p < .01; empathic concern: r = .51, p < .01). Individuals with SPD traits showed lower scores on the GEM than individuals without SPD traits (t(1,250) = −1.99, p = .05), thus confirming discriminative validity.
Conclusions: These preliminary findings suggest that the Chinese version of the GEM demonstrated satisfactory internal consistency and construct validity. In addition, the findings suggest that the GEM is culturally appropriate and researchers can use it to study empathy in healthy and clinical Chinese participants.