What is it about?

The aim of this meta-analysis was to synthesize the existing evidence examining how empathy changes during undergraduate medical education and assess whether different types of measures produce different results

Featured Image

Why is it important?

This review indicated a significant decrease in self-ratings of empathy across the years of medical education. However, moderation analysis showed that the observed effect size was non-significant for studies that did not use the Jefferson’s Scale for Physician Empathy (JSPE).


the results of this meta-analysis indicate that one needs to be cautious in concluding that empathy decreases during medical education, given the over-reliance on one single measure. At a practical level, studies examining changes in empathy scores should include more than one measure in order to derive meaningful conclusions. A tri- angulation of methods using self reports, but also patient perceptions, and even peer assessments could provide reli- able information concerning the changes of empathy during the years of undergraduate medical education. More infor- mation is needed before we devote scarce resources to train- ing healthcare professionals to be more empathetic, in order to deliver high quality, holistic care

Vasiliki Spatoula
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Does empathy change during undergraduate medical education? – A meta-analysis*, Medical Teacher, May 2019, Taylor & Francis, DOI: 10.1080/0142159x.2019.1584275.
You can read the full text:



The following have contributed to this page