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Investigating the psychometric properties of the Jefferson Scale of Physician Empathy in a sample of Malaysian medical students

Authors Spasenoska M, Costello S, Williams B

Received 17 September 2015

Accepted for publication 1 March 2016

Published 6 June 2016 Volume 2016:7 Pages 331—339

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/AMEP.S96591

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Maria Olenick

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Dr Anwarul Azim Majumder


Marija Spasenoska,1 Shane Costello,1 Brett Williams2

1
Faculty of Education, 2Department of Community Emergency Health and Paramedic Practice, Monash University, Melbourne, VIC, Australia

Objective: The purpose of this present study was to investigate the psychometric properties of the Jefferson Scale of Physician Empathy – student version (JSPE-S).
Subjects and methods:
This study recruited 193 Malaysian medical students enrolled in year one and year two studies. A principal-component analysis with Varimax rotation was conducted. Procrustes rotation was used to confirm the item to model fit, which allows for a comparison of actual structure against an ideal hypothesized structure. Items were systematically removed based on low communalities of < 0.3 and poor loading of items onto components.
Results: A two-component solution was found, comprised of “perspective taking” and “compassionate care”. Following item removal, eleven items remained. A Procrustes analysis revealed that this eleven-item measure demonstrated an excellent model fit. A possible third component was identified, though is not recommended for use, due to construct underrepresentation.
Conclusion: This study found the Jefferson Scale of Physician Empathy fitted best to a two-component model using eleven items. Item, component, and overall congruence were very high, and scale reliabilities were adequate. The results of this study suggest that the eleven-item, two-component solution demonstrates excellent psychometric properties and structural validity in a Malaysian medical student population. Future research could consider using the short eleven-item measure in both student and health care profession samples to investigate the role of empathy in health care.

Keywords: empathy, medical students, psychometrics

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