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Administrative Issues Journal

Abstract

Social empathy is the ability to understand other people by perceiving or experiencing their life situations, thus providing an opportunity to gain insight into social inequalities. Institutions of higher education have unique opportunities to engage students in socially just educational conversations that challenge negative social biases of others who are not like them. The current study investigated the validity of the inferences made from the Interpersonal and Social Empathy Index (ISEI), a common tool used to explore levels of empathy among college students. A comparison was then made between the original constructs described by the instrument developers (Segal et. al., 2013) and the constructs present in the data collected for this study. Factor analysis results indicated a structure different from that proposed by the instrument developers. While the number of latent factors in the current study is the same as those proposed by the original instrument developers (4), items composing the factors were different. Consequently, subscale scores calculated using developer suggested items may not be the best representation of latent constructs related to empathy.

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