Relationship between empathic responding and its clinical characteristics in patients with major depressive disorder
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Article No: 6   Article Type :  Research
Objective: To our knowledge, there is no study specifically examining the relation between empathic responding and clinical features in patients with major depressive disorder (MDD). Our aim was to examine cognitive and affective empathic responding in patients with MDD and to explore the possible relations between clinical features and empathy.

Method: The sociodemographic and clinical properties of 83 patients with major depression were recorded. The Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) was used to assess severity of depression, whereas the Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI) was used to assess anxiety. Hopelessness level was measured by Beck Hopelessness Scale (BHS). Patients’ empathic ability was evaluated by using the Interpersonel Reactivity Index (IRI), and results were compared with 85 healthy controls. We used Pearson correlation and general linear model analysis to evaluate the manner in which the variables contributed to the IRI scores.

Results: Perspective Taking (IRI-PT), Empathic Concern (IRI-EC), and Fantasy (IRI-FS) subscores were all substantially lower in subjects with depression than in healthy controls, while the Personal Distress (IRI-PD) subscore was higher than in healthy subjects. There were significant effects of gender on the scores of IRI-EC and IRI-FS. Lower IRI-FS and IRI-PD scores were found to be significantly related to high suicide risk in depression.

Conclusion: Based on our results, patients with major depressive disorder show significantly impaired empathy measures compared to the normal population. Our findings also suggest a close relationship between suicidality and empathy in patients with MDD.
Keywords : Empathy, gender, hopelessness, major depressive disorder, suicide
Dusunen Adam The Journal of Psychiatry and Neurological Sciences 2016;29:145-154
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