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Front. Psychiatry | doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2019.00751

Confirmation of a two-factor solution to the Questionnaire of Cognitive and Affective Empathy (QCAE) in a French population of patients with schizophrenia spectrum disorders

 Eric Brunet-Gouet1, 2*,  Nils Myszkowski3, Mickael Ehrminger4,  Mathieu URBACH1, 5,  Bruno Aouizerate5, 6, Lore Brunel5, 7,  Delphine Capdev5, 8,  Isabelle Chereau5, 9, Caroline Dubertret5, 10,  Juilien Dubreucq5, 11,  Guillaume B. Fond5, 12, Christophe Lançon5, 13, Sylvain Leignier5, 11, Jasmina Mallet5, 8, David Misdrahi5, 6, Sylvie PIres5, 9, Priscille Schneider5, 14, Franck Schurhoff5, 7, Hanan Yazbek5, 8, Anna Zinetti-Bertschy5, 14, Nadine Bazin1,  Christine Passerieux1, 4,  Franck Zenasni15 and  Paul Roux1, 4, 5
  • 1Centre Hospitalier de Versailles, France
  • 2Faculté de Médecine, Université de Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, France
  • 3Pace University, United States
  • 4Université de Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, France
  • 5Fondation FondaMental, Hospital Albert Chenevier, France
  • 6Centre Hospitalier Charles Perrens, France
  • 7INSERM U955 Institut Mondor de Recherche Biomédicale (IMRB), France
  • 8Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Montpellier, France
  • 9Université Clermont Auvergne, France
  • 10INSERM U1266 Institut de Psychiatrie et Neurosciences de Paris, France
  • 11Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Grenoble, France
  • 12Hôpital de la Conception, France
  • 13Hôpital Sainte-Marguerite, France
  • 14Faculté de Médecine, Université de Strasbourg, France
  • 15Laboratoire Adaptations Travail-Individu, Université Paris Descartes, France

The Questionnaire of Cognitive and Affective Empathy (QCAE) is a tool for self-assessing the cognitive and emotional components of empathy. A study showed that a two-factor model fit the data of patients with schizophrenia, whereas other reports on healthy subjects have suggested a five-factor decomposition. We aimed to replicate the model of Horan et al. in a French population with schizophrenia spectrum disorders (i.e. schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorders) participating to the EVACO study (NCT02901015). In total, 133 patients were assessed with the QCAE, the Positive and Negative Symptom Scale (PANSS), the Personal and Social Performance Scale (PSP), and the Self rating Quality of Life Scale (S-QoL). The two-factor model demonstrated an adequate fit with the data, comparable to that reported by Horan et al. Males scored higher on the Affective sub-score than females. After correction for multiple tests, psychopathology (PANSS) and functioning (PSP) did not correlate significantly with the QCAE subscores. However, Quality of life (S-QoL) correlated positively with the Emotional Contagion sub-score. Thus, the variability of empathetic disposition in schizophrenia may be considered through the cognitive versus affective dichotomy and properly investigated with the QCAE. The results support further investigation of the relationship between QCAE scores and subjective outcome measurements, such as quality of life, and emphasize the importance of cross-cultural comparisons.

Keywords: Empathy, Assessement method, Quality of Life, functioning, Schizophrenia spectrum

Received: 18 Jul 2019; Accepted: 18 Sep 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Brunet-Gouet, Myszkowski, Ehrminger, URBACH, Aouizerate, Brunel, Capdev, Chereau, Dubertret, Dubreucq, Fond, Lançon, Leignier, Mallet, Misdrahi, PIres, Schneider, Schurhoff, Yazbek, Zinetti-Bertschy, Bazin, Passerieux, Zenasni and Roux. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: MD, PhD. Eric Brunet-Gouet, Centre Hospitalier de Versailles, Le Chesnay, 78150, France,