Evaluation of the Erosion of Empathy in Medical Education and Clinical Practise: A Cross-Sectional Study

Evaluation of the Erosion of Empathy in Medical Education and Clinical Practise: A Cross-Sectional Study


  • Muhammad Abdullah
  • Ahmad Hassan
  • Shahwaz Ahmad
  • Muhammad Khizar Rafique
  • Shahzad Azam
  • Sehrish Sohail Khan
  • Larabe Farrukh
  • Fatima Farhan
  • Bariah Rafiq
  • Faiza Zaheer
  • Saira Tariq




Background: Understanding a patient's opinions and experiences on a cognitive level is empathy. This helps the patient feel valued and validated, which in turn improves satisfaction, results, and communication efficiency. Ironically, despite medical schools' best efforts to instill these traits, there has been a reported reduction in the enthusiasm and humanitarianism of medical students. The focus placed in modern medical school on a doctor's emotional distance, affective distance, and professional neutrality may be misunderstood or misguided, which can lead to a decrease in empathy. Objectives: To assess the fundamental causes of a loss in empathy during medical school and professional practise, as well as the relationship between this decline and clinical results. Methodology: A self-administered questionnaire with 20 items spread across three domains and scored on a 4-point Likert scale was given to 90 participants, including medical students, house officers and postgraduate students from King Edward Medical University and Mayo Hospital, as part of a quantitative survey method over the course of six months. Utilising SPSS (23), all calculations were completed. The standard deviation was applied to data with numerical values and the mean. Using percentages and frequencies, we analysed categorical data. Gender, age groupings, study year, and current educational standards were all compared using a chi-square test. Results: Our study found a favourable relationship between empathy levels and gender (p=0.024), present educational requirements (p=0.0285), and age (p=0.0286). Females were more likely than males to strongly agree that a patient's emotional state is a significant component of the doctor-patient relationship (71.6%) and to consider empathy as a crucial therapeutic component (65.7%). Empathy is also influenced by other elements like pressures related to academic achievement, excessive job hours, sleep deprivation and the following rise in responsibilities with age. Conclusion: The factors influencing students' and doctors' empathy levels were examined in this research project. Furthermore, it demonstrated how gender has a significant impact on empathy because women typically exhibit higher levels of empathy than men. Empathy levels and the study year did not significantly correlate. Age did, however, seem to cause a drop in empathy. Empathy levels and the current educational standards were found to be negatively correlated, with postgraduate trainees' empathy levels being lower than those of individuals working at homes. Future studies are required to determine whether empathy levels affect clinical training and patient outcomes, and if so, whether interventions can be created to lessen this effect.


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2023-07-24 — Updated on 2023-08-29


How to Cite

Abdullah, M., Hassan, A., Ahmad, S., Rafique, M. K., Azam, S., Khan, S. S., Farrukh, L., Farhan, F., Rafiq, B., Zaheer, F., & Tariq, S. (2023). Evaluation of the Erosion of Empathy in Medical Education and Clinical Practise: A Cross-Sectional Study. Journal of Society of Prevention, Advocacy and Research KEMU, 2(3), 93–101. Retrieved from https://journalofspark.com/journal/index.php/JSpark/article/view/167 (Original work published July 24, 2023)



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