Levels of empathy among undergraduate physiotherapy students: A cross-sectional study at two universities in Istanbul
Objective: The aim of this study is to determine differences of levels of empathy among undergraduates in each year of their four-year programs of physiotherapy.
Methods: During the 2014-2015 academic school year, 381 physiotherapy students were enlisted from two universities in Istanbul, one a foundation and the other a government university. The Turkish version of the Jefferson Scale of Physician Empathy was administered. Students were asked to indicate interest in particular physiotherapy specialties as well as their region of origin in Turkey. The Kruskal-Wallis analysis was used to determine differences among the four study years, and also to measure relationships between specialty interest, home-region, and empathy scores of the students. Empathy scores were also compared according to gender.
Results: The difference of empathy scores between the students of the two universities was borderline significant (p=0.057). Empathy scores in both universities increased to a significant degree after school entrance and decreased in the final year. Levels of empathy did not change according to gender, specialty interest, or home-region (p=0.722, 0.524, and 0.309, respectively).
Conclusions: This study points to the need for physiotherapy curricula that would enhance empathy and give students practice in exhibiting this valuable attribute. Additional studies are needed that would include larger study populations and track the same students year by year as to how and why their empathy levels change during their training.
How to cite this:Yucel H, Acar G. Levels of empathy among undergraduate physiotherapy students: A cross-sectional study at two universities in Istanbul. Pak J Med Sci. 2016;32(1):85-90. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.12669/pjms.321.8745
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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