Association of Medical Student Characteristics and Empathy After a Communication Workshop

Ramona Jewel Maria Dorough, Maria Adamuti-Trache, Caitlin Holt Siropaides

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Medical education values patient-centered communication skills of responding to patient's emotions, however, guidance is limited on how to provide a well-rounded curriculum. This study examines the effect of a 90-minute communication workshop on the level of empathy of the 116 medical students who participated in the workshop. We used three psychometric categories from the Jefferson Scale of Empathy (JSE) as dependent variables. We conducted mixed analysis of variance (ANOVA) analyses to determine the change in empathy scores after the workshop, the main effects for gender and medical specialty, and their interaction with time. We found an increase in perspective taking and compassionate care scales, although no changes on walking in patients’ shoes scale. Female and people-oriented specialty students scored higher on all scales. Some gender-specialty groups showed an empathy decrease: people-oriented specialty females on compassionate care scale and people-oriented and other specialty males on walking in patients’ shoes scale. We concluded that communication training requires a multidimensional approach to target various areas of building empathy. Standardization of training should be embedded with empathy development within medical education curriculum.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Patient Experience
StatePublished - Nov 2021


  • clinician–patient relationship
  • communication
  • education
  • empathy
  • interprofessional communication
  • interprofessional education
  • medical education
  • patient/relationship-centered skills

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Leadership and Management
  • Health(social science)


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