Changes in Empathy Levels on Dentistry’s Students of Public University in Cartagena City, Colombia

Farith Damian Gonzalez, Lesbia Tirado-Amador, Josvir Bueno-Hernández, Braulio Chica-Duque, Víctor Patricio Díaz-Narváez


Objective: To compare levels of empathy in dentistry students in the cohorts of 2013 and 2016 years, in a public university in Cartagena, Colombia. Material and Methods: The sample consists of 332 students from first to fifth academic year. The instrument used was the Jefferson Medical Empathy Scale (EEMJ), Spanish version for medical students (version S), validated in Mexico and Chile and adapted for students of dentistry in Colombia. Implementation was anonymous and confidential and informed consent was used. The scale was judged by judges in order to verify cultural validity and students' understanding of the scale was evaluated. The means and standard deviation were estimated. A bifactorial variance analysis, model III was applied to find differences of means between academic years, the genders and in the interaction of these factors. The comparison between empathic cohort data 2013 and 2016 was performed using the Wilks Lambda Statistician and the M Box test. The level of significance used was α≤0.05 and β<0.20. Results: The results were significant for the "academic years" factor (p = 0.027), gender (p = 0.782) and interaction (p = 0.364) were not significant. The size of the effect of the statistical differences found is not high. The value of R2 corrected shows that the factors studied explain only 2.9% of all the variation of empathy. Conclusion: The empathy in the study subjects presents some fluctuations; however there are no statistically significant differences for the factors of interest among the cohorts evaluated.


Empathy; Students, Dental; Physician-Patient Relations; Education

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