Article

Level of Empathy among Medical Students in Kuwait University, Kuwait

Department of Community Medicine and Behavioural Sciences (Biostatistics), Faculty of Medicine, Kuwait University, Jabriya, Kuwait.
Medical Principles and Practice (Impact Factor: 1.11). 03/2013; 22(4). DOI: 10.1159/000348300
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Objectives: To evaluate the level of empathy among medical students in Kuwait University Medical School and its association with sociodemographic factors, stress levels and personality. Subjects and Methods: A cross-sectional survey of 264 medical students was conducted in the Faculty of Medicine, Kuwait University. Empathy levels were measured using the Jefferson Scale, personality was assessed using the Zuckerman-Kuhlman Personality Scale and the Perceived Stress Scale was used to measure stress levels. Factors associated with empathy were evaluated using t test/ANOVA for categorical variables and correlation for continuous predictors. Results: Mean empathy score was 104.6 ± 16.3. Empathy scores were significantly associated with gender, year of study, mother's level of education, household income, satisfactory relationship with the mother and stress levels. Male medical students in their clinical years also had significantly lower empathy levels. However, factors such as grade point average, desired specialty, marital status of parents, father's educational level and relationship with father were not significantly (p > 0.05) associated with levels of empathy. Stress scores were significantly and positively associated with empathy (r = 0.13; p = 0.041). Conclusion: Medical students in Kuwait University had low empathy level and this may be a cause for concern; as such we suggest a possible inclusion of emphasis on empathy in the curriculum.

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