Next Article in Journal
The Performance of a Self-Flocculating Microalga Chlorococcum sp. GD in Wastewater with Different Ammonia Concentrations
Next Article in Special Issue
Quality of Patient-Centered Care Provided to Patients Attending Hematological Cancer Treatment Centers
Previous Article in Journal
Violent and Non-Violent Criminal Behavior among Young Chinese Drug Users: A Mixed Methods Study
Previous Article in Special Issue
Patient-Centered Care in Breast Cancer Genetic Clinics
Article Menu
Issue 3 (March) cover image

Export Article

Open AccessArticle
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(3), 433; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15030433

Empathy Variation in General Practice: A Survey among General Practitioners in Denmark

1
Center for Medical Humanities, Compassionate Care, and Bioethics, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, New York, NY 11794, USA
2
Research Unit of General Practice, Department of Public Health, University of Southern Denmark, J.B. Winsløws Vej 9, DK-5000 Odense C, Denmark
3
COHERE, Department of Public Health & Research Unit of General Practice, University of Southern Denmark, 5000 Odense C, Denmark
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 3 January 2018 / Revised: 7 February 2018 / Accepted: 28 February 2018 / Published: 2 March 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Quality of Patient-Centered Care)
Full-Text   |   PDF [540 KB, uploaded 2 March 2018]   |  

Abstract

Background: Previous studies have demonstrated that high levels of physician empathy may be correlated with improved patient health outcomes and high physician job satisfaction. Knowledge about variation in empathy and related general practitioner (GP) characteristics may allow for a more informed approach to improve empathy among GPs. Objective: Our objective is to measure and analyze variation in physician empathy and its association with GP demographic, professional, and job satisfaction characteristics. Methods: 464 Danish GPs responded to a survey containing the Danish version of the Jefferson Scale of Empathy for Health Professionals (JSE-HP) and questions related to their demographic, professional and job satisfaction characteristics. Descriptive statistics and a quantile plot of the ordered empathy scores were used to describe empathy variation. In addition, random-effect logistic regression analysis was performed to explore the association between empathy levels and the included GP characteristics. Results: Empathy scores were negatively skewed with a mean score of 117.9 and a standard deviation of 10.1 within a range from 99 (p5) to 135 (p95). GPs aged 45–54 years and GPs who are not employed outside of their practice were less likely to have high empathy scores (≥120). Neither gender, nor length of time since specialization, length of time in current practice, practice type, practice location, or job satisfaction was associated with odds of having high physician empathy. However, odds of having a high empathy score were higher for GPs who stated that the physician-patient relationship and interaction with colleagues has a high contribution to job satisfaction compared to the reference groups (low and medium contribution of these factors). This was also the trend for GPs who stated a high contribution to job satisfaction from intellectual stimulation. In contrast, high contribution of economic profit and prestige did not contribute to increased odds of having a high empathy score. Conclusions: Albeit generally high, we observed substantial variation in physician empathy levels among this population of Danish GPs. This variation is positively associated with values of interpersonal relationships and interaction with colleagues, and negatively associated with middle age (45–54 years) and lack of outside employment. There is room to increase GP physician empathy via educational and organizational interventions, and consequently, to improve healthcare quality and outcomes. View Full-Text
Keywords: physician empathy; organization of care; medical education; general practice; variation; job satisfaction; Jefferson scale of empathy (JSE); GP characteristics; Denmark; primary care physician empathy; organization of care; medical education; general practice; variation; job satisfaction; Jefferson scale of empathy (JSE); GP characteristics; Denmark; primary care
Figures

Figure 1

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
SciFeed

Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Charles, J.A.; Ahnfeldt-Mollerup, P.; Søndergaard, J.; Kristensen, T. Empathy Variation in General Practice: A Survey among General Practitioners in Denmark. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 433.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics

1

Comments

[Return to top]
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health EISSN 1660-4601 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top