Background: Empathy is a much talked about but ignored characteristic in India. Doctor-patients relationship goes a long way and invariably has a profound effect on the treatment outcomes. This study makes an attempt to determine the level of empathy among clinical students in the specialty of dentistry in Indian scenario. Aim: To determine the construct validity and reliability of the Jefferson Scale of Empathy-Health Care Provider Student version (JSE-HPS) with the secondary aim of assessing empathy levels with respect to age, gender and year of study. Settings and design: A cross-sectional observational study was conducted among clinical students of a dental institute in South India. Method and material: The JSE-HPS was administered to 150 students from final year, interns and postgraduate students. Descriptive and inferential statistics with Principal Component Analysis was performed to determine the construct validity. The reliability measured using Cronbach’s Alpha. Differences of empathy scores with respect to age and gender assessed using independent t test. One way ANOVA with Tukey’s post hoc test was used for empathy scores across year of study, with level of significance at p<0.05. Results: The JSE-HPS demonstrated good internal consistency (Cronbachs Alpha - 0.7). A four factor solution was found taking into consideration “understanding patients’ feelings” as the principal component, followed by a relatively new “sense of confusion” and factor three and four corresponding to “ignoring the emotional component”, each corresponding to 20.5 percent, 15.6 percent, 14 percent and 8.7 percent of the item variance respectively. The total mean empathy scores were found to be 93.2±15.6. Overall females were more empathic (90.03 ± 13.186) than males (86.98 ± 9.946) (p>0.05). Age had no significant effect on empathy scores. Within group comparison using one way ANOVA revealed significant differences for scores among interns and postgraduates (p<0.05). Conclusion: This study confirms the construct validity and internal consistency of JSE-HPS for measuring the empathy in an Indian study setting. Post-graduates scored higher than the Compulsory Rotatory Resident Internship [CRRI] and final year students. Age and gender had no effect on empathy scores when compared to year of study.
|Number of pages
|Indian Journal of Public Health Research and Development
|Published - 01-10-2017
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health