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Trait autism is a better predictor of empathy than alexithymia

Shah, Punit, Livingston, Lucy A. ORCID:, Callan, Mitchell J. and Player, Lois 2019. Trait autism is a better predictor of empathy than alexithymia. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 49 (10) , pp. 3956-3964. 10.1007/s10803-019-04080-3

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It has been proposed that atypical empathy in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is due to co-occurring alexithymia. However, difficulties measuring empathy and statistical issues in previous research raise questions about the role of alexithymia in empathic processing in ASD. Addressing these issues, we compared the associations of trait alexithymia and autism with empathy in large samples from the general population. Multiple regression analyses showed that both trait autism and alexithymia were uniquely associated with atypical empathy, but dominance analysis found that trait autism, compared to alexithymia, was a more important predictor of atypical cognitive, affective, and overall empathy. Together, these findings indicate that atypical empathy in ASD is not simply due to co-occurring alexithymia.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Publisher: Springer Verlag (Germany)
ISSN: 0162-3257
Funders: MRC UK
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 19 November 2019
Date of Acceptance: 7 June 2019
Last Modified: 02 May 2023 13:34

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