Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities
Articles Information
Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities, Vol.6, No.3, Sep. 2020, Pub. Date: Jul. 7, 2020
Empathy and Its Associated Factors Among Clinical Year Medical Students in Melaka-Manipal Medical College, Malaysia
Pages: 174-187 Views: 137 Downloads: 71
Authors
[01] Michelle Diong Chi Teng, Faculty of Medicine, Melaka-Manipal Medical College, Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE), Melaka, Malaysia.
[02] Ku Zhuang Qian, Faculty of Medicine, Melaka-Manipal Medical College, Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE), Melaka, Malaysia.
[03] Tan Li Wen, Faculty of Medicine, Melaka-Manipal Medical College, Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE), Melaka, Malaysia.
[04] Naantini Sankar, Faculty of Medicine, Melaka-Manipal Medical College, Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE), Melaka, Malaysia.
Abstract
In the medical field, clinical empathy describes the ability of a physician to identify and understand the patient’s suffering, pain and perspective and initiate effective communication as well as an appropriate treatment. Empathy played an important role among medical students to the patient, someone who is completely dependent on doctors to help them heal and provide relief to their suffering. Our objective was to assess empathy among medical students in Melaka-Manipal Medical College (Malaysia) towards their patients by using an empathy scale named Davis’ Interpersonal Reactivity Scale (DIRI) and assessed the association between empathy with age, gender, religion, ethnicity and nationality, as well as chronic illness in students themselves or among their family members. This cross-sectional study was conducted from March 2020 till April 2020 in our college. A study population of 750 medical students from Melaka Manipal Medical College Malaysia was selected. The data was collected through distribution of online questionnaires using Davis Interpersonal Reactivity Index (DIRI) empathy scale. The data was analysed with the help of Epi info version 7.2 ANOVA and unpaired T-test were used to calculate the association between dependent and independent variables. A total of 117 students participated. Empathy was measured using four subscales of DIRI, which were perspective taking, empathy concern, personal distress and fantasy. Participants obtained a highest mean score for empathic concern subscale (28.5), followed by perspective taking (27.0), fantasy (24.6) and lastly personal distress (22.4). From our study, gender difference for DIRI empathy score is especially prominent - female students mean total empathy score (104.44) was higher than male students (98.50). We also found that nationality has a significant association with empathy - Non-Malaysian students have a higher total empathy mean score (110.75) than Malaysian students (101.93). Not only that, students with a history of chronic illness obtained a higher total empathy mean score (111.50) compared to those without (102.05). In conclusion, instilling empathy in medical student’s or healthcare practitioners towards patients is especially important as it is beneficial for both parties. It facilitates treatment and psychosocial outcomes and this complements one another. Thus, students need support in reflecting on their own communication with and treatment of patients. Medical educators should incorporate emotional intelligence in medical curriculum that eventually improve the patient-centred practice, patient’s satisfaction and effective communication skills.
Keywords
Empathy, Medical Students, DIRI, Demographic Characteristics, Chronic Illness
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