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Authenticity, Empathy, and Relationship Satisfaction: Can Our “True Selves” Help Us Connect?

28 June 2018


Authenticity is thought to be a major tenet of psychological health and wellness within the humanistic, existential, psychodynamic, and positive branches of psychology (Wood, Linley, Maltby, Baliousis, & Joseph, 2008). Until recent years, there has been relatively little empirical data available to define authenticity and support its proposed importance. A growing body of research is looking at what exactly authenticity is, what it is related to, and how it might contribute to healthy psychological functioning. This study investigated the relationships among authenticity, empathy, and relationship satisfaction. It was hypothesized that all three of these constructs would be demonstrated to have significant relationships and that empathy would have a significant mediating or moderating effect on the relationship between authenticity and relationship satisfaction. Data were collected from 164 participants via an online survey.

Participants were given the option to provide demographic information and were then tasked with completing the Authenticity Scale (AS; Wood, 2008), the Interpersonal Reactivity Index (IRI; Davis, 1980), and the Relationship Assessment Scale (RAS; Hendrick, 1988). Correlations were found among the RAS and several of the subscales of the AS and IRI, and two of the IRI subscales (Perspective Taking and Empathic Concern) had significant moderating effects on the relationship between the AS subscale Authentic Living and the RAS. Possible implications of these findings, limitations, and ideas for future research are discussed.


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