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Fam Med. 2005 May;37(5):328-31.

Association between Balint training and physician empathy and work satisfaction.

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Trident Family Medicine Residency Program, Charloeston, SC, USA.



Balint training is used in many family medicine residency programs to encourage self-reflection and exploration of the physician-patient encounter. There is limited objective research, however, on outcomes of Balint training. This study's purpose was to determine whether Balint training is associated with differences in physician empathy and work satisfaction.


The Jefferson Scale of Physician Empathy and a validated survey on physician work satisfaction were mailed to 182 graduates of the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) Family Medicine Residency Program (113 Balint attendees and 69 nonattendees). The Dillman method of survey design was followed.


The two groups were not statistically different in demographic measures. Balint attendees had a similar mean empathy score (119.4) as nonattendees (116.7). There was also no statistically significant difference in overall work satisfaction or satisfaction with financial compensation. Balint attendees were, however, more likely to say they would choose the same specialty if they could choose again than did nonattendees (86.1% versus 55%).


There was no association found between Balint training and physician empathy, financial satisfaction, or overall work satisfaction. However, physicians who completed Balint training at the MUSC Family Medicine Residency Program seemed more satisfied with their choice of family medicine as a specialty.

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