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ERIC Number: EJ867314
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 4
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-1042-9670
Cultivating Empathy for the Mentally Ill Using Simulated Auditory Hallucinations
Bunn, William; Terpstra, Jan
Academic Psychiatry, v33 n6 p457-460 Nov-Dec 2009
Objective: The authors address the issue of cultivating medical students' empathy for the mentally ill by examining medical student empathy pre- and postsimulated auditory hallucination experience. Methods: At the University of Utah, 150 medical students participated in this study during their 6-week psychiatry rotation. The Jefferson Scale of Physician Empathy, Student Version, was used before and after the experience. The auditory hallucinations were provided as part of the "Hearing Voices That Are Distressing" curriculum created by the National Empowerment Center, which attempted to simulate the experience of hearing auditory hallucinations. While the students were listening to the auditory hallucinations, they underwent a psychiatric interview and simplified cognitive testing and were asked to socially interact in the community. We conducted a paired sample t-test of significance to identify pre- and postsimulated auditory hallucination changes in medical student empathy. Fifty students were randomly selected to serve as a comparison group. Results: The paired sample t-test revealed that after listening to the simulated auditory hallucinations and participating in the simplified neurocognitive testing, the students' empathy score increased. Students in the comparison group had no significant difference in their empathy scores. Conclusion: These results suggest that empathy may increase when students are given a brief glimpse into the mind of a mentally ill patient by listening to simulated auditory hallucinations. Specific interventions to increase empathy for the mentally ill can lead to a better understanding of how empathy can improve patient care, enhance the doctor-patient relationship, and direct future educational strategies.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Utah