Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


College of Humanities and Social Sciences



Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Ruth Propper

Committee Member

Jennifer Pardo

Committee Member

Jean Lengenfelder


Physical, emotional, cognitive, and social problems can all result from a traumatic brain injury. The focus of this present research was to investigate individuals with moderate-to-severe TBI who lack empathy and how that lack in empathy might impact their quality-of-life. Individuals with moderate-to-severe TBI between ages 18 and 65 (N=39) completed questionnaires including the Quality of Life after Brain Injury (QOLIBRI) and Empathy Quotient (EQ) as part of a larger study. A correlational analysis was completed between the total scores on the EQ and total scores on the QOLIBRI before splitting the participants into groups. A relationship between total scores on the EQ and QOLIBRI (r(1,37) = .398, p = .012) was established after completion of the analysis. Based on their EQ scores, the participants were divided into three groups: below-average empathy (N=9), average empathy (N=16), and above average empathy (N=14). There was a statistically significant difference in the total QOLIBRI scores across the three empathy groups (F (2, 36) = 5.037, p =.012). Post-hoc analysis, indicated those with lower EQ scores also reported lower QOLIBRI scores. This work provides evidence that those with low empathy may have a worse quality of life after brain injury relative to those with higher levels of empathy. Understanding the relationship between empathy and quality of life for individuals with brain injury can inform professionals where to target interventions such that improvements in empathy may also increase quality of life.

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Included in

Psychology Commons