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J Educ Eval Health Prof. 2017;14(1):33. English. Original Article. https://doi.org/10.3352/jeehp.2017.14.33
Chatterjee A , Ravikumar R , Singh S , Chauhan PS , Goel M .
Department of Community Medicine, UCMS and GTB Hospital, Dilshad Garden, Delhi, India. dranirban1986@gmail.com
Department of Physiology, UCMS and GTB Hospital, UCMS and GTB Hospital, Delhi, India.
Undergraduate Student, UCMS and GTB Hospital, Delhi, India.
Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study was to assess the clinical empathy of a cohort of medical students spanning 4 years of undergraduate study and to identify factors associated with empathy.

Methods

A cross-sectional study to assess the empathy of undergraduate medical students at the University College of Medical Sciences and GTB Hospital in Delhi, India, was conducted using the Jefferson Scale of Empathy–Student Version. Demographic data were obtained using a pre-tested, semi-open-ended questionnaire.

Results

Of the 600 students, 418 participated in the survey (69.7%). The mean empathy score was 96.01 (of a maximum of 140), with a standard deviation of 14.56. The empathy scores decreased from the first to the third semester, plateaued at the fifth semester, and rose again in the seventh semester. Empathy was found to be significantly associated with the gender of the participant, with females having higher scores (P < 0.001). The age of the participant, place of residence, whose decision it was for the student to enroll in an MBBS (bachelor of medicine and bachelor of surgery) program, and the choice of future specialty were not significantly associated with students' empathy scores.

Conclusion

The study found significant gender differences in empathy among the participants. The empathy scores tended to decline initially and then rebound over time. The mean empathy levels found in this study are lower than those reported in most similar studies around the world; therefore, further studies are needed to analyze and address the underlying factors associated with this discrepancy.

Copyright © 2019. Korean Association of Medical Journal Editors.