The Toronto Empathy Questionnaire

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.


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).



Microsoft Office document iconteq.doc

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

Digital Object Identifier (DOI):