1 Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran

2 Department of Medical ethics, Medical School, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran


Introduction: Empathy refers to a personality character that has a great rolein communication with others. Thus, proper evaluation and education ofempathy in medical students is important for medical education. Becauseprevious studies had suggested that physician’s empathy may reduce withclinical trainings, in this study we decided to measure the empathy scoreamong medical students.Methods: This is a cross-sectional study conducted on medical students in the first to seventh years of their studies at Shiraz medical school (south of Iran) in 2010. We designed new Iranian version questionnaire of the Jefferson Scale of Physician Empathy. Sample size was 260 students and the results were analyzed in SPSS, version 11.5 (statistical tests such as descriptive methods, t-test, and ANOVA) and p< 0.05 was considered as the significant level.Results: The empathy score decreased with increase in the students’ age(p= 0.001) and educational level (p= 0.030). The overall rate of empathyscore in basic science level (65.5±0.84) was more than that in the clinicallevel (55.5±1.78). The lowest empathy score was seen in the seventh yearstudents (55.51) and the highest was in the first year students (65.50). Female students had higher mean empathy score (65.53) while it was 59.02 in the male students.Conclusion: In general, medical students in Shiraz University of MedicalSciences had low empathy level and this may be a cause for concern; as such we suggest a possible inclusion of courses on empathy in the curriculum.Keywords: Empathy, Altruism, Medical students, Patients