Enhancing Empathy Scale Reliability: A Comprehensive Analysis

September 28, 2023
Ryan Nelson
Ryan Nelson
🇺🇸 United States
Statistics
Ryan Nelson, Ph.D., is a seasoned statistics expert with 7+ years of experience and a doctorate from Northwest University. Specializing in assisting students with assignments, Ryan brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to statistical challenges.
Key Topics
  • Problem Description:
    • Gender Distribution:
    • Empathy Scale - Item Statistics:
    • Evaluation of Reliability Analysis Assumptions:
    • Reliability Analysis: Cronbach’s Alpha Method:
    • Reliability Analysis: Split-Half Method:
    • Reliability Analysis by Gender (Male and Female):
    • Split-Half Method by Gender:
    • Identification of Problematic Items:
    • Reliability Analysis After Item Deletion:
  • Conclusion:

In the pursuit of reliable and insightful psychological assessments, the study scrutinizes a 14-item Empathy scale's internal consistency. Initially revealing poor reliability, the study identified three problematic items and their influence on overall scale integrity. Through item removal, the scale's reliability significantly improved. This research highlights the necessity of rigorous analysis and refinement in measurement tools, emphasizing the critical role of precision in psychological assessments for robust and dependable results.

Problem Description:

This reliability analysis assignment explores the reliability of a 14-item Empathy scale, examining its internal consistency through various statistical methods. The dataset comprises responses from 517 participants, with a gender distribution of 63.1% females and 36.9% males. The analysis aims to assess the reliability of the scale and identify problematic items affecting its consistency.

Gender Distribution:

The gender distribution is:

  • FEMALE: 326 (63.1%)
  • MALE: 191 (36.9%)

The table indicates that out of 517 respondents, 63.1% (326) are females, and 36.9% (191) are males.

Empathy Scale - Item Statistics:

The following table shows the item statistics for the 14 items in the Empathy scale, including the mean, standard deviation, and the number of participants (N) in the study:

ItemMeanStd. DeviationN
SAD TO SEE LONELY STRANGER4.801.621517
ANNOYED BY SORRY FOR SELF PEOPLE3.701.728517
EMOTIONALLY INVOLVED WITH FRIEND PROBLEM4.501.483517
DISTURBED WHEN BRING BAD NEWS4.901.456517
A PERSON CRYING UPSETS ME4.671.632517
REALLY INVOLVED IN BOOK OR MOVIE4.761.618517
ANGRY WHEN SEE SOMEONE ILL TREATED5.851.278517
AMUSED AT SNIFFLING AT MOVIES4.941.803517
DO NOT FEEL OK WHEN OTHERS ARE DEPRESSED4.241.573517
HARD TO SEE WHY OTHERS SO UPSET4.321.702517
UPSET TO SEE ANIMAL IN PAIN5.471.534517
UPSET TO SEE HELPLESS OLD PEOPLE5.561.469517
IRRITATION RATHER THAN SYMPATHY AT TEARS5.621.559517
DIFFICULT TO REMAIN COOL WHEN EXCITEMENT PRESENT3.731.564517

Table 1: gender distribution of the respondents

Evaluation of Reliability Analysis Assumptions:

Before analyzing the reliability of the Empathy scale, it is crucial to ensure that the assumptions of reliability analysis are met:

  • Observations should be independent of each other.
  • Errors should be uncorrelated between items.
  • Each pair of items should have a bivariate normal distribution.
  • Scales should be additive, and each item is linearly related to the others.

Reliability Analysis: Cronbach’s Alpha Method:

Cronbach’s alpha was used to assess the internal consistency and reliability of the 14-item Empathy scale. The results indicate that the scale has poor reliability and internal consistency (Cronbach’s alpha coefficient = 0.685).

Reliability Analysis: Split-Half Method:

The Split-Half method was also employed to determine the scale's reliability and internal consistency. The results show that, even with this method, the Empathy scale has poor reliability (Spearman-Brown coefficient, equal length = 0.594).

Reliability Statistics

Cronbach's AlphaPart 1Value.634
N of Items7a
Part 2Value.477
N of Items7b
Total N of Items14
Correlation Between Forms.423
Spearman-Brown CoefficientEqual Length.594
Unequal Length.594
Guttman Split-Half Coefficient.592

Table 2: Reliability statistics for the split-half method

Reliability Analysis by Gender (Male and Female):

Separate analyses by gender reveal the following results:

Females:

  • Cronbach’s alpha coefficient = 0.644
  • The Empathy scale has poor reliability and internal consistency for female respondents.

Males:

  • Cronbach’s alpha coefficient = 0.645
  • The Empathy scale also exhibits poor reliability and internal consistency for male respondents.

Split-Half Method by Gender:

Females:

  • Spearman-Brown coefficient (equal length) = 0.577
  • The Empathy scale shows poor reliability and internal consistency for female respondents even with the Split-Half method.

Males:

  • Spearman-Brown coefficient (equal length) = 0.519
  • The Empathy scale demonstrates poor reliability and internal consistency for male respondents with the Split-Half method.

Identification of Problematic Items:

By assessing item-total statistics, three items were identified as most adversely affecting reliability for the entire dataset: item 2 (Annoyed by sorry for self-people), item 10 (Hard to see why others are so upset), and item 14 (Difficult to remain cool when excitement is present).

Item-Total Statistics

Scale Mean if Item DeletedScale Variance if Item DeletedCorrected Item-Total CorrelationSquared Multiple CorrelationCronbach's Alpha if Item Deleted
SAD TO SEE LONELY STRANGER62.2781.313.403.326.654
ANNOYED BY SORRY FOR SELF PEOPLE63.3794.520-.053.120.718
EMOTIONALLY INVOLVED WITH FRIEND PROBLEM62.5781.323.457.350.648
DISTURBED WHEN BRING BAD NEWS62.1781.702.453.415.649
A PERSON CRYING UPSETS ME62.4079.322.473.372.644
REALLY INVOLVED IN BOOK OR MOVIE62.3181.852.385.232.657
ANGRY WHEN SEE SOMEONE ILL TREATED61.2284.746.398.240.659
AMUSED AT SNIFFLING AT MOVIES62.1384.895.228.272.680
DO NOT FEEL OK WHEN OTHERS ARE DEPRESSED62.8385.395.271.211.672
HARD TO SEE WHY OTHERS SO UPSET62.7591.286.048.121.704
UPSET TO SEE ANIMAL IN PAIN61.6082.256.400.325.655
UPSET TO SEE HELPLESS OLD PEOPLE61.5181.987.436.411.651
IRRITATION RTHER THAN SYMPATHY AT TEARS61.4584.628.303.250.668
DIFFICULT TO REMAIN COOL WHEN EXCITEMENT PRESENT63.3488.461.164.101.686

Table 3: PROBLEM ITEMS ADVERSELY AFFECTING RELIABILITY FOR THE ENTIRE DATASET

Reliability Analysis After Item Deletion:

Reliability Statistics

Cronbach's AlphaCronbach's Alpha Based on Standardized ItemsN of Items
.757.76511

Table 4: Reliability Analysis After Item Deletion

Reliability Statistics

Cronbach's AlphaPart 1Value.757
N of Items6a
Part 2Value.529
N of Items5b
Total N of Items11
Correlation Between Forms.446
Spearman-Brown CoefficientEqual Length.617
Unequal Length.618
Guttman Split-Half Coefficient.602

After removing the three problematic items, the reliability analysis results improved significantly:

  • Cronbach’s alpha coefficient for the 11-item scale = 0.757
  • Spearman-Brown coefficient (equal length) for the 11-item scale = 0.617

Conclusion:

In summary, the initial 14-item Empathy scale displayed poor reliability and internal consistency. However, after removing the three problematic items, the scale's reliability and internal consistency significantly improved. This analysis underscores the importance of evaluating and refining measurement instruments for accurate and reliable results in research and surveys.

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