J Korean Acad Soc Nurs Educ.  2020 Aug;26(3):290-298. 10.5977/jkasne.2020.26.3.290.

Mediating effect of communication ability in the relation between empathy and interpersonal relation in nursing students

  • 1Assistant professor, Kunsan College of Nursing
  • 2Assistant professor, Department of Nursing, Kunjang University College
  • 3Associate professor, Department of Nursing, VISION College of Jeonju


This study aimed to grasp the correlation between communication ability, empathy, and interpersonal relations among nursing students, and to explore the mediating effect of empathy on the relation between communication and interpersonal relation in nursing students.
Participants were 209 college students in the Department of Nursing at two universities. The data collection period was from October 1, 2019 to November 1, 2019. The questionnaire consisted of measuring tools for general characteristics, communication ability, interpersonal relation and empathy. SPSS/23.0 program was used. The analysis used descriptive statistics, Pearson's correlation coefficient, independent t-test, one-way ANOVA, multiple regression analysis, and Sobel's tests.
The communication ability was nursing major satisfaction (t=8.25, p<.001), and last year's average grade (t=7.29, p=.001). Interpersonal relationships showed significant differences in gender (t=2.51, p=.013) and nursing major satisfaction (t=10.99, p<.001). Communication ability and empathy (r=.37, p<.001), communication ability and interpersonal relation (r=.77, p<.001), empathy and interpersonal relation (r=.43, p<.001) showed a significant static correlation. In communication ability and interpersonal relation, empathy had a partial mediating effect (Z=2.97, p<.001), and explanatory power was 62%.
To improve the communication ability and interpersonal relation of nursing students, it is necessary to develop a personalized and empathy-enhanced education program for each grade.


Nursing students; Communication; Empathy; Interpersonal relation; 간호 대학생; 의사소통; 공감; 대인관계
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