The Jefferson Scale of Physician Empathy
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On the basis of the belief that measuring instruments that were developed for the general population did not tap the essence of empathy in the context of patient care, we developed an operational measure of empathy specifi- cally applicable to medical care. This chapter describes the steps taken in the development and psychometric analyses of the Jefferson Scale of Physician Empathy (JSPE). The evidence presented in support of the JSPE’s validity (face, content, construct, criterion-related, convergent, and discriminant validities) and reliability (coefficient alpha in support of internal consistency and test–retest reliability in support of score stability) can enhance the confidence of researchers who are searching for a psychometrically sound instrument developed specifically to study empathy in the context of patient care. The general findings on the JSPE’s measurement properties suggest that the instrument can serve as an operational measure of empathy among students (S-Version) and practitioners in the health professions (HP-Version). Further research is needed to investigate the relationship between scores on the JSPE and clinical outcomes, such as accuracy of diagnosis, patient satisfaction, patient compliance, and reduced risk of malpractice claims.
KeywordsMedical Student Empathic Concern Personal Distress Interpersonal Reactivity Index Jefferson Medical College
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