The analysis of the empathy factor in students of medical sciences
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Department of Social Medicine and Social Pathology, Medical University of Gdańsk, Polnad
Heritage Care, United Kingdom
Submission date: 2018-12-12
Final revision date: 2019-07-14
Acceptance date: 2019-07-15
Online publication date: 2019-12-11
Corresponding author
Krzysztof Sobczak   

Department of Social Medicine and Social Pathology, Faculty of Health Sciences with Institute of Maritime and Tropical Medicine, Medical University of Gdańsk, Tuwima 15, 80-210, Gdańsk, Poland. Tel.: +48 349 15 53.
Pol. Ann. Med. 2019;26(2):145-150
Many research projects identify empathy as one of the most important factors necessary for efficient cooperation with patients. For that reason, nowadays, students of medical schools are more often offered access to training, which helps them to develop empathic communication.

The aim of our research was to compare empathy scores of students of medical sciences in Poland against those of students from outside of our system of education.

Material and methods:
In our study, the sample included 536 students from the Medical University of Gdańsk. The participants filled in Baron–Cohen’s Empathy Quotient (EQ) – 40 questionnaire and another one, concerning data on demographics. To analyse dependence between discrete variables and statistical heterogeneity of groups, we applied Pearson’s χ2 test and analysis of variance.

Results and discussion:
The results revealed a correlation between female sex and the value of empathy score (χ2 = 86.781, df = 55, P = 0.004). Female students of nursing and obstetrics had the highest average empathy score (EQ = 49.3), which was followed by the students of physiotherapy (EQ = 47.1). Male students of pharmacy had the lowest score (EQ = 44).

The findings of our study confirm a connection between sex and level of empathy. Majority of students of those specialisations we researched (61%) had an average level of empathy (class II EQ = 33–51). We did not reveal dependence between the year or the mode of study and the EQ.

Studies have not been supported by institutions or individuals.
The authors declare no conflict of interest.
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