The present study was designed to develop a brief instrument to measure empathy in health care providers in patient care situations. Three groups participated in the study: Group 1 consisted of 55 physicians, Group 2 was 41 internal medicine residents, and Group 3 was composed of 193 third-year medical students. A 90-item preliminary version of the Empathy scale was developed based on a review of the literature and distributed to Group 1 for feedback. After pilot testing, a revised and shortened 45-item version of the instrument was distributed to Groups 2 and 3. A final version of the Jefferson Scale of Physician Empathy containing 20 items based on statistical analyses was constructed. psychometric findings provided support for the construct validity, criterion-related validity (convergent and discriminant), and internal consistency reliability (coefficient alpha) of the scale scores.
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