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ERIC Number: EJ1120872
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Dec
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1382-4996
Medical Student Empathy: Interpersonal Distinctions and Correlates
Jordan, Kevin D.; Foster, Penni Smith
Advances in Health Sciences Education, v21 n5 p1009-1022 Dec 2016
Attention to interpersonal behaviors, communication, and relational factors is taking on increasing importance in medical education. Medical student empathy is one aspect of the physician-patient relationship that is often involved in beneficial interactions leading to improved clinical outcomes and patient satisfaction. As an interpersonal quality, empathy is a social behavior well-suited to be examined from an interpersonal perspective. The present study used the interpersonal theory of clinical, personality, and social psychology to examine the construct of empathy and theorize about likely interpersonal correlates. One hundred and sixty-three students from an academic health center in the southeastern United States participated in this study. The medical student version of the Jefferson Scale of Empathy was used to assess empathy and its factors: Perspective taking, compassionate care, and walking in the patient's shoes. Interpersonal assessments included the International Personality Item Pool-Interpersonal Circumplex, the Interpersonal Support Evaluation List, and the UCLA Loneliness Scale. Distinct interpersonal styles and correlates emerged among empathy and its factors. While all factors of empathy were related to interpersonal warmth, perspective taking and compassionate care were also associated with submissiveness. Of note, only walking in the patient's shoes was correlated with both social support and less loneliness. These findings are discussed in light of interpersonal theory with particular attention paid to the implications for medical education and professional development.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: UCLA Loneliness Scale
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A