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Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 46, Issue 6, pp 2240–2250 | Cite as

Brief Report: An Observational Measure of Empathy for Autism Spectrum: A Preliminary Study of the Development and Reliability of the Client Emotional Processing Scale

  • Anna Robinson
  • Robert Elliott
Brief Report

Abstract

People with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), can have difficulties in emotion processing, including recognising their own and others’ emotions, leading to problems in emotion regulation and interpersonal relating. This study reports the development and piloting of the Client Emotional Processing Scale-Autism Spectrum (CEPS-AS), a new observer measure of four interrelated aspects of emotional processing: emotion recognition, self-reflection, cognitive empathy, and affective empathy. Results showed good interrater reliability (alpha: .69–.91), while inter-dimension associations were high (r = .66–.82). The measure was able to detect significant differences on the four dimensions across a short-term humanistic–experiential group therapy. The CEPS-AS shows promise as a potential addition to current self-report instruments measuring empathy or emotion processes in individuals with ASD.

Keywords

Emotional processing Empathy Autism spectrum Observer measure 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We would like to express our gratitude to each of the adolescents and adults who agreed to take part in this research.

Author Contributions

This study was prepared from the first author’s doctoral dissertation. The first author contributed to the majority of writing of the manuscript. Both authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Funding

The author(s) received no financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The author(s) declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.

Ethical Approval

This study was approved by the University of Strathclyde, Psychological Sciences and Health Ethics Committee.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Autism, School of EducationUniversity of StrathclydeGlasgowScotland, UK
  2. 2.Counselling Unit, School of Psychological Sciences and HealthUniversity of StrathclydeGlasgowScotland, UK

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