Empathy Levels of Dental Faculty and Students: A Survey Study at an Academic Dental Institution in Chile

Melissa Carvajal, Susana López, Pablo Sarabia-Alvarez, Johana Fontealba, Mariela Padilla, Joyce Sumi, Víctor P. Díaz-Narváez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)


A successful health care provider may be described as a clinician capable of establishing a comprehensive diagnosis including identifying related risk factors. However, an equally important quality a clinician should possess is the ability to understand the experiences and feelings of others to allow better communication for better outcomes. It is likely that faculty empathy levels influence students' ability to demonstrate this attribute. The aim of this study was to assess the levels of empathy of dental faculty members relative to dental students at the Universidad San Sebastian in Chile. Using a cross-sectional design of survey-collected data collected with the Jefferson Scale of Empathy, the authors compared the perceptions of the dental faculty involved in teaching fourth- and fifth-year dental students (n=116) to the perceptions of basic and preclinical students (n=346) and clinical students (n=189). The data were collected in 2016-17. The results showed that the mean faculty scores were higher than that of the students in compassionate care (90.1%) and perspective adoption (89.7%); however, for putting oneself in the other's shoes, the faculty had a lower score (57.8%) than the clinical students (58.2%). Future investigations are needed to understand the impact of faculty empathy scores on students and whether pedagogical interventions can increase empathy scores.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1134-1141
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Dental Education
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2019


  • dental education
  • dental faculty
  • dental students
  • dentist-patient communication
  • educational research
  • empathy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Dentistry(all)

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Empathy Levels of Dental Faculty and Students: A Survey Study at an Academic Dental Institution in Chile'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this