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Revista Brasileira de Educação Médica

Print version ISSN 0100-5502

Abstract

THOMAZI, Lívia; MOREIRA, Fernanda Gonçalves  and  MARCO, Mario Alfredo De. Assessment of fourth-year medical students' development of empathy undertaken at the federal university of são paulo (Unifesp) in 2012. Rev. bras. educ. med. [online]. 2014, vol.38, n.1, pp.87-93. ISSN 0100-5502.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0100-55022014000100012.

OBJECTIVE: This study consisted of reassessing empathy demonstrated by fourth-year medical students at Unifesp after a prior evaluation in 2009 when the students were in the first year of the course, and a consequent comparison of the results obtained. METHOD: A validated instrument known as the Empathy Inventory (Falcone, 2008) was used to measure empathy among 80 fourth-year students at Unifesp Medical School. The inventory features 40 questions in a Likert scale that assess four factors related to the ability to empathize: Adoption of a Perspective, Interpersonal Flexibility, Altruism and Emotional Sensitivity. RESULTS: Empathy among medical students at Unifesp showed no statistically significant change from 2009 to 2012. CONCLUSION: The increased contact that students have with patients at the beginning of the course combined with the high number of curricular subjects focused on the humanities possibly explains the result. Students at the institution are able to develop the technique giving it a more humanist character and learning from the beginning how to treat patients, rather than illnesses.

Keywords : Empathy; Medical Education; Psychology.

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