Abstract

Introduction: Empathy, an essential component of the physician–patient relationship, may be linked to positive patient outcomes. This study aimed to determine the empathy score among student residence assistants (RAs). 

Methods: In this descriptive design (cross-sectional study), 102 Iranian RAs participated in the study during 2015, completing the Jefferson Scale of Empathy (JSPE). Data collection was analyzed using SPSS version 17. MANOVA, independent-samples t-test, Spearman correlation and confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) were used for data analysis.

Results: Mean score of JSE in the sample was 87.06 (±15.14). The mean scores for perspective taking, compassionate care, and standing in the patients shoes were 38.90 (±13.11), 39.27 (±7.94), and 8.89 (±2.80) respectively. Among the three specialties, (psychiatric, internal medicine, surgery) results showed significant differences in total empathy score (p=0.001) and perspective taking score (p= 0.008). 

Conclusions: this study showed significant differences in total empathy score and perspective taking in three specialties. We suggest that the curriculum in Iranian RAs include more teaching on empathy and communicational skills.

 

Keywords: Empathy, Physician, Psychometrics, Iran
 
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