Empathy is a complex form of psychological inference in which observation, memory, knowledge and reasoning are combined to yield insights into the thoughts and feelings of others.
The aim of this study was to evaluate the level of empathy in a sample of alcohol-dependent (alcoholic) patients in comparison to a control sample.
One hundred and fifty alcoholic subjects were consecutively recruited. All of the subjects successfully detoxified have been evaluated with the Empathy Quotient (EQ) and then compared with 107 control subjects.
- The level of empathy was significantly lower in the group of alcoholic subjects than in the control sample (p <.001).
- Differences with respect to gender and psychiatric comorbidity have also been observed.
- A low level of empathy could be a psychological trait typically observed in pre-morbid alcoholic personalities.
Further, the lack of empathy could lead latent abusers to find in the alcohol misuse something enabling them to compensate for their intrinsic weakness
Research report; Empathy Ability Is Impaired in Alcohol-Dependent Patients. Giovanni Martinotti; Marco Di Nicola; Daniela Tedeschi; Sante Cundari; Luigi Janiri. American Journal on Addictions, Volume 18, Issue 2 March 2009 , pages 157 – 161
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