Brief Report: Empathic Responsiveness of High Functioning Children with Autism to Expressed and Anticipated Distress Academic Article uri icon


  • The majority of studies that have investigated empathic responsiveness of individuals with Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have used heterogeneous groups in terms of age, cognitive level and gender which significantly impact the results. Our aim in this study was to explore responsiveness of a more homogenous sample of 21 children with ASD and 17 typically developing controls, aged 8-12 years to both overt (or expressed) and anticipated distress. In the anticipated distress task, groups were not differentiated in their response towards the experimenter who had her drawing torn. In the expressed distress task, groups were again similar in expressing concern and acting prosocially towards an experimenter who pretended to lose her watch. The theoretical and clinical implications of these findings are discussed.

publication date

  • October 1, 2016