INTRODUCTION: Physicians' empathy is an advantage for a better patient care and resolution of disease, and is considered a relevant part of professional training. OBJECTIVE: To measure the level of empathy and its components in medical students of the city of Córdoba, Argentina. METHODS: This was an exploratory, cross-sectional study. The Jefferson Scale of Physician Empathy was administered, in its Spanish version for health sciences students (version S), validated in Mexico and Chile, and culturally adapted to Argentina based on experts' opinion. A two-factor analysis of variance (model III) was used to assess mean differences between sexes and school years, and the interaction between these factors. RESULTS: 306/497 students from first through fifth year assessed in November 2016. The sample was stratified by school year and sex. Significant differences were observed in overall empathy and in compassionate care in both factors. These differences increased over the years (higher among fifth year students and lower among first year ones), and women showed higher values than men in terms of empathy and compassionate care. CONCLUSION: Overall empathy, and the compassionate care component specifically, increased from first through fifth year (and were higher among women compared to men), which evidenced the progressive development of the affective component of empathy. The percentage of development of overall empathy and the cognitive components showed little progression.
- Professional training
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health