Factors associated with levels of empathy among students and professionals in the health field: a systematic review


Trends Psychiatry Psychother.




Abstract Objective This study aimed to investigate factors associated with empathy and identify instruments used to measure this ability in professionals and students in the health field. Method A systematic review was performed. Searches were conducted on the PsycINFO, PubMed, Web of Science, and Scopus databases using the keywords “empathy” and “health professional”. We selected 29 articles published in English, with no restriction imposed regarding the year of publication. Results Based on the findings of the articles selected, sociodemographic factors (female gender, being married, being older, having siblings, and having children) are associated with higher levels of empathy. Professional experience (years of practice) and being on the final years of the course also contributed to higher levels of empathy. Different versions of the Jefferson Scale of Empathy were the most prevalent assessment tools employed in the different studies. Conclusion The articles analyzed describe several factors that influence the level of empathy among health professionals and students. Thus, future studies should take sociodemographic factors into account when evaluating levels of empathy in this population.

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