Measurement of empathy among Argentine cardiologists: Psychometrics and differences by age, gender, and subspecialty
Background: Cardiologists are involved in the management of patients with multiple cardiovascular risk factors and chronic heart diseases, so empathy is a necessary feature to deal with them. The aim of the study was to evaluate the validity and reliability of the Spanish version of the Jefferson Scale of Physician Empathy (JSPE) among Argentine cardiologists and to explore the potential differences by age, gender, and subspecialty.
Methods: Between August and September 2012, we performed a survey in a non-randomized sample of 566 Spanish-speaking cardiologists of Argentina. A Principle Component Analysis (PCA) was used to explore the link between observed variables and latent variables in order to identify the factor structure. The PCA criteria for identifying the factor structure were examined with the Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin (KMO) analysis.
Results: The KMO measure of sampling adequacy was 0.86 and Bartlett’s test of sphericity was highly significant (p = 0.000), determining the suitability of the data set for factor analysis. The PCA of 20 items yielded a three factor model that accounted for 40.6% of the variance. The JSPE mean rank score for women was 307.9 vs. 275.0 for men (p = 0.017). The comparison of mean rank score according to age (quartiles) showed a significant relation between older age and empathy. No difference was found when the mean rank scores were compared by respondent subspecialty.
Conclusions: JSPE provides a valid and reliable scale to measure Argentine cardiologists’ attitudes towards empathy. Female cardiologists seem to be more empathic than their male colleagues, and a positive relationship between age and empathy was found.
Keywords: empathyJefferson Scale of Physician EmpathycardiologistsArgentine