Empathy, Components of Empathy and Curricular Evaluation of the Faculty of Dentistry, Evangelical University of El Salvador

Víctor Patricio Díaz-Narváez, Nuvia Estrada-Méndez, Yesenia Arévalo-López, Aracelis Calzadilla-Núñez, Robert Utsman-Abarca


Objective: To estimate empathy levels in general and empathic growth potential in dental students. Material and Methods: This is an exploratory, transversal study. The study population is made up of students from the first to fifth academic year of the career of dentistry of the Evangelical University of El Salvador (El Salvador) (148/240, 61.67% of the population studied).  The participants were given the Jefferson Empathy Medical Scale, the Spanish version for medical students, validated in Chile and Mexico, and culturally adapted in El Salvador. A bifactorial variance analysis (model III) was applied to find differences in the means between the courses, between the genders and in the interaction between these two factors. The data were described using simple arithmetic graphs, processed with SPSS 22.0. Total growth potential was estimated. Results: Differences were found between academic years, but not in gender of empathy in general and in its components.  The levels of empathy and its components are low in relation to other studies. The behavior of the levels of empathy agrees with the concept of empathic decline. The masculine gender presented levels of empathy, in absolute values, greater than the feminine. There is considerable potential for growth in empathy and that of its components. Conclusion: The behavior of the levels of empathy observed in this work does not agree with the concept of empathic decline. The differences observed between the genders were not consistent with those reported by other authors and it is possible that these findings constitute further evidence that empathy itself is not a female attribute.


Empathy; Dentistry; Gender Identity; Curriculum

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4034/PBOCI.2017.171.40

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