Relationships between scores of the Jefferson Scale of Physician Empathy (JSPE) and the Interpersonal Reactivity Index (IRI)

  • Hojat M
  • Mangione S
  • Kane G
 et al. 
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Abstract

This study was designed to examine the relationships between scores of two measures of empathy. One was specifically developed for measuring empathy in patient care situations; the other was developed for the general population. It was hypothesized that the overlap between scores of the two measures would be greater for their constructs that are more relevant to patient care. Study participants were 93 first-year internal medicine residents at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia. The Jefferson Scale of Physician Empathy (JSPE, specifically developed for administration to health professionals), and the Interpersonal Reactivity Index (IRI, developed for the general population) were administered. A statistically significant correlation of a moderate magnitude between the total scores of the JSPE and IRI (r = 0.45, p < 0.01) was found. The research hypothesis was confirmed by observing higher correlations between those scales of the IRI that were relevant to patient care (e.g. empathic concern, perspective taking) and related factors of the JSPE (compassionate care, perspective taking) than other scales of the IRI that seemed less relevant to patient care (e.g. personal distress and fantasy). These findings provide further support for the validity of the JSPE. It is concluded that physician empathy as measured by the JSPE and its underlying factors are distinct personal attributes that have a limited overlap with fantasy and no overlap with personal distress defined as dimensions of an empathy measure that was developed for the general population.

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Authors

  • Mohammadreza Hojat

  • Salvatore Mangione

  • Gregory C. Kane

  • Joseph S. Gonnella

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