Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


The objective of this study was to determine if empathy was predictive of marital satisfaction, and which, if any, of the four empathy variables from Davis' Interpersonal Reactivity Index (1980), would serve as predictors of marital satisfaction. Correlation and regression analyses were used to evaluate the relationships of fantasy, empathic concern, perspective taking and personal distress with marital satisfaction. Variables of secondary interest included those of sex. birth order, length of marriage and age married. Both Individuals and couples were used as units of analysis.

Empathic concern and perspective taking were found to be predictors of marital satisfaction. No significant differences were found between sex or birth order and any of the empathy variables. However, negative relationships were found between number of years married and marital satisfaction, and empathic concern. Age of subjects when they married was positively correlated with marital satisfaction, empathic concern and perspective taking.