The Toronto Empathy Questionnaire


This questionnaire consists of 16 questions, each rated on a five point scale from ‘never’ to ‘often’. It was developed by reviewing other available empathy instruments, determining what these instruments had in common, and deriving a single factor that became the basis of the Toronto Empathy Questionnaire (TEQ). The TEQ conceptualises empathy as a primarily emotional process. The instrument has been shown to be positively correlated with measures of social decoding, other empathy measures, and to be negatively correlated with measures of autism symptomatology.


The questionnaire has been shown to have high internal consistency, construct validity, and test–retest reliability (Spreng et al., 2009).

Author of Tool:

Spreng, R. N., McKinnon, M. C., Mar, R. A., & Levine, B.

Key references:

Spreng, R. N., McKinnon, M. C., Mar, R. A., & Levine, B. (2009). The toronto empathy questionnaire: Scale development and initial validation of a factor-analytic solution to multiple empathy measures. Journal of Personality Assessment, 91, 62-71.

Primary use / Purpose:

This questionnaire was designed as a brief measure of empathy.

Other Information:

Scoring: Item responses are scored according to the following scale for positively worded Items 1, 3, 5, 6, 8, 9, 13, 16. Never = 0; Rarely = 1; Sometimes = 2; Often = 3; Always = 4. The following negatively worded items are reverse scored: 2, 4, 7, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15. Scores are summed to derive total for the Toronto Empathy Questionnaire

The Toronto Empathy Questionnaire

Below is a list of statements.  Please read each statement carefully and rate how frequently you feel or act in the manner described.  Circle your answer on the response form.  There are no right or wrong answers or trick questions.  Please answer each question as honestly as you can.



1.When someone else is feeling excited, I tend to get excited too01234
2.Other people's misfortunes do not disturb me a great deal01234
3.It upsets me to see someone being treated disrespectfully01234
4.I remain unaffected when someone close to me is happy01234
5.I enjoy making other people feel better01234
6.I have tender, concerned feelings for people less fortunate than me01234
7.When a friend starts to talk about his\her problems, I try to steer the conversation towards

something else

8.I can tell when others are sad even when they do not say anything01234
9.I find that I am "in tune" with other people's moods01234
10.I do not feel sympathy for people who cause their own serious illnesses01234
11.I become irritated when someone cries01234
12.I am not really interested in how other people feel01234
13.I get a strong urge to help when I see someone who is upset01234
14.When I see someone being treated unfairly, I do not feel very much pity for them01234
15.I find it silly for people to cry out of happiness01234
16.When I see someone being taken advantage of, I feel kind of protective towards him\her01234