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The jefferson scale of physician empathy: A preliminary study of validity and reliability among physicians in Nigerian tertiary hospital

1 Department of Clinical Services, Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Calabar, Cross River State, Nigeria
2 Department of Psychiatry, University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, Calabar, Cross River State, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Emmanuel Aniekan Essien,
Department of Clinical Services, Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Calabar, Cross River State
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ami.ami_70_18

Introduction: Physician empathy has been shown to have a substantial effect on doctor–patient relationship, therapeutic adherence, and overall treatment outcome. Despite its important role, physician empathy is under-researched in Nigeria. Aims: This study aims to investigate the validity and reliability of the Jefferson Scale of Physician Empathy (JSPE) (Health Professional version) among Nigerian physicians in the University of Uyo teaching hospital, Uyo, Nigeria. Participants and Methods: In this cross-sectional study, a brief sociodemographic questionnaire, the Emotional intelligence scale (EIS), and the JSPE were administered to 120 doctors in the University of Uyo teaching hospital. Data were analyzed using SPSS version 22. Results: Cronbach's and split half coefficients were 0.73 and 0.66, respectively. Correlation coefficient with the EIS was 0.49 (P < 0.05). Exploratory factor analysis yielded three factors that were not quite consistent with previous reports. We found empathy to be significantly higher among older physicians, those who were involved in administrative duties and those with a higher rank (P < 0.05). After regression analysis, age, sex, and administrative role emerged as significant predictors of physician empathy (P < 0.05). Conclusions: The JSPE had fairly strong reliability coefficients and an acceptable convergent validity with the EIS which measures a related construct. It can serve as a useful measure of patient-related empathy among Nigerian doctors.

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