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Int J Med Educ. 2015 Sep 5;6:103-8. doi: 10.5116/ijme.55e6.0d44.

The relationships between empathy, stress and social support among medical students.

Author information

1
Department of Emergency Medicine, Inje University College of Medicine, Busan, Republic of Korea.
2
Inje University College of Medicine, Busan, Republic of Korea.
3
Department of Medical Education, Inje University College of Medicine, Busan, Republic of Korea.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To examine the relationship between stress, social support, and empathy among medical students.

METHODS:

We evaluated the relationships between stress and empathy, and social support and empathy among medical students. The respondents completed a questionnaire including demographic information, the Jefferson Scale of Empathy, the Perceived Stress Scale, and the Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support. Correlation and linear regression analyses were conducted, along with sub-analyses according to gender, admission system, and study year.

RESULTS:

In total, 2,692 questionnaires were analysed. Empathy and social support positively correlated, and empathy and stress negatively correlated. Similar correlation patterns were detected in the sub-analyses; the correlation between empathy and stress among female students was negligible. In the regression model, stress and social support predicted empathy among all the samples. In the sub-analysis, stress was not a significant predictor among female and first-year students.

CONCLUSIONS:

Stress and social support were significant predictors of empathy among all the students. Medical educators should provide means to foster resilience against stress or stress alleviation, and to ameliorate social support, so as to increase or maintain empathy in the long term. Furthermore, stress management should be emphasised, particularly among female and first-year students.

KEYWORDS:

Medical student; empathy; social support; stress

PMID:
26342190
PMCID:
PMC4561553
DOI:
10.5116/ijme.55e6.0d44
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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