Indian Journal of PsychiatryIndian Journal of Psychiatry
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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 63  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 418-423

Cognitive and affective empathy in men with alcohol dependence: Relation with clinical profile, abstinence, and motivation

1 Department of Psychiatry, T.N.M.C. and B.Y.L. Nair Ch. Hospital, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
2 Department of Psychiatry, Grant Government College and Sir J.J. Group of Hospitals, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Correspondence Address:
Hrishikesh Bipin Nachane
63, Sharmishtha, Tarangan, Thane West, Thane - 400 606, Maharashtra
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/indianjpsychiatry.indianjpsychiatry_1101_2

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Background: Empathy plays a role not only in pathophysiology but also in planning management strategies for alcohol dependence; however, few studies have looked into it. No data are available regarding the variation of empathy with abstinence and motivation. Assessment based on cognitive and affective dimensions of empathy is needed. Aim: This study aimed to assess cognitive and affective empathy in men with alcohol dependence and compared it with normal controls. Association of empathy with disease-specific variables, motivation, and abstinence was also done. Methods: This was a cross-sectional observational study conducted in the outpatient department of a tertiary care center. Sixty men with alcohol dependence and 60 healthy controls were recruited and assessed using the Basic Empathy Scale for cognitive and affective empathy. The University of Rhode Island Change Assessment Scale was used to assess motivation. Other variables were assessed using a semi-structured pro forma. Comparative analysis was done using unpaired t-test and one-way ANOVA. Correlation was done using Pearson's correlation test. Results: Cases with alcohol dependence showed lower levels of cognitive, affective, and total empathy as compared to controls. Affective and total empathy were higher in abstinent men. Empathy varied across various stages of motivation, with a significant difference seen between precontemplation and action stages. Empathy correlated negatively with number of relapses and positively with family history of addiction. Conclusions: Empathy (both cognitive and affective) is significantly reduced in alcohol dependence. Higher empathy correlates with lesser relapses. Abstinence and progression in motivation cycle is associated with remission in empathic deficits.



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