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Emotional and cognitive empathy in first-year medical students.

Dehning S, Gasperi S, Krause D, Meyer S, Reiß E, Burger M, Jacobs F, Buchheim A, Müller N, Siebeck M - ISRN Psychiatry (2013)

Bottom Line: The female students' mean BEES score was significantly (P = 0.0037) below the female norm of 60.Students who preferred a specialty with continuity of patient care scored significantly higher in the BEES (P = 0.014).This supports the inclusion of specific training in cognitive and emotional empathy in medical education.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Ludwig Maximilian University, Nußbaumstraße 7, 80336 Munich, Germany.

ABSTRACT
Objectives. Doctors' empathy towards their patients is considered important for treatment outcome. However, during medical school there might be a decline in empathy called "hardening of the heart." This study evaluated the cognitive and emotional empathy in medical students and investigated the influence of a preference for a specialty and students attachment styles. Methods. 126 first-year medical students were included and completed the Reading the Mind in the Eyes Test revised version (RME-R), the Balanced Emotional Empathy Scale (BEES), and the Experiences in Close Relationships-Revised Adult Attachment Questionnaire (ECR-R). Results. Students identified 22 ± 4.30 of 36 photographs in the RME-R test correctly (norm: 26). The female students' mean BEES total score was 51.1 ± 17.1 and the male students' 27.2 ± 22.6; P < 0.0001. The female students' mean BEES score was significantly (P = 0.0037) below the female norm of 60. Students who preferred a specialty with continuity of patient care scored significantly higher in the BEES (P = 0.014). A more avoidant attachment style was associated with a lower BEES score (P = 0.021). Conclusion. The students showed low emotional and cognitive empathy scores and an avoidant attachment style. This supports the inclusion of specific training in cognitive and emotional empathy in medical education.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Regression tree for the BEES developed with sociodemographic data and the ECR-R subscales as input variables. The terminal nodes show the number of students for the respective subgroup, together with a boxplot of the BEES.
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fig2: Regression tree for the BEES developed with sociodemographic data and the ECR-R subscales as input variables. The terminal nodes show the number of students for the respective subgroup, together with a boxplot of the BEES.

Mentions: The analysis also showed a significant association between the intended specialization and empathy scores among male students: those who preferred a specialty with continuity of patient care scored significantly higher in the BEES than those who preferred a specialty with less interpersonal contact (P = 0.014). There was no evidence for such an association (P = 0.29) among the female students. According to the regression tree (Figure 2), gender was the most important classification factor for the BEES, as described above. The subsample of male students who preferred a specialisation with continuity of patient care or who had not decided on a specialization could be further discriminated by the score on the ECR-R avoidance subscale, with an optimal cut point at 2.056, indicating that a more avoidant attachment style is associated with lower emotional empathy levels (P = 0.008). This result is supported by the negative correlation between the ECR-R avoidance subscale and the BEES among all male students (r = −0.24; P = 0.021). Although the linear regression model (Table 3) indicated a trend towards more emotional empathy with an increasing score on the ECR-R anxiety subscale, there was no significant relationship between these scales (P = 0.07).


Emotional and cognitive empathy in first-year medical students.

Dehning S, Gasperi S, Krause D, Meyer S, Reiß E, Burger M, Jacobs F, Buchheim A, Müller N, Siebeck M - ISRN Psychiatry (2013)

Regression tree for the BEES developed with sociodemographic data and the ECR-R subscales as input variables. The terminal nodes show the number of students for the respective subgroup, together with a boxplot of the BEES.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3818892&req=5

fig2: Regression tree for the BEES developed with sociodemographic data and the ECR-R subscales as input variables. The terminal nodes show the number of students for the respective subgroup, together with a boxplot of the BEES.
Mentions: The analysis also showed a significant association between the intended specialization and empathy scores among male students: those who preferred a specialty with continuity of patient care scored significantly higher in the BEES than those who preferred a specialty with less interpersonal contact (P = 0.014). There was no evidence for such an association (P = 0.29) among the female students. According to the regression tree (Figure 2), gender was the most important classification factor for the BEES, as described above. The subsample of male students who preferred a specialisation with continuity of patient care or who had not decided on a specialization could be further discriminated by the score on the ECR-R avoidance subscale, with an optimal cut point at 2.056, indicating that a more avoidant attachment style is associated with lower emotional empathy levels (P = 0.008). This result is supported by the negative correlation between the ECR-R avoidance subscale and the BEES among all male students (r = −0.24; P = 0.021). Although the linear regression model (Table 3) indicated a trend towards more emotional empathy with an increasing score on the ECR-R anxiety subscale, there was no significant relationship between these scales (P = 0.07).

Bottom Line: The female students' mean BEES score was significantly (P = 0.0037) below the female norm of 60.Students who preferred a specialty with continuity of patient care scored significantly higher in the BEES (P = 0.014).This supports the inclusion of specific training in cognitive and emotional empathy in medical education.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Ludwig Maximilian University, Nußbaumstraße 7, 80336 Munich, Germany.

ABSTRACT
Objectives. Doctors' empathy towards their patients is considered important for treatment outcome. However, during medical school there might be a decline in empathy called "hardening of the heart." This study evaluated the cognitive and emotional empathy in medical students and investigated the influence of a preference for a specialty and students attachment styles. Methods. 126 first-year medical students were included and completed the Reading the Mind in the Eyes Test revised version (RME-R), the Balanced Emotional Empathy Scale (BEES), and the Experiences in Close Relationships-Revised Adult Attachment Questionnaire (ECR-R). Results. Students identified 22 ± 4.30 of 36 photographs in the RME-R test correctly (norm: 26). The female students' mean BEES total score was 51.1 ± 17.1 and the male students' 27.2 ± 22.6; P < 0.0001. The female students' mean BEES score was significantly (P = 0.0037) below the female norm of 60. Students who preferred a specialty with continuity of patient care scored significantly higher in the BEES (P = 0.014). A more avoidant attachment style was associated with a lower BEES score (P = 0.021). Conclusion. The students showed low emotional and cognitive empathy scores and an avoidant attachment style. This supports the inclusion of specific training in cognitive and emotional empathy in medical education.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus