BackgroundGiven the influence that personality can have on empathy, this study explores the relationship between empathy and personality, using three different measures of empathy, and taking into account gender and specialty preference.
MethodsCross-sectional study. One hundred and ten medical students completed the Jefferson Scale of Physician Empathy, the Interpersonal Reactivity Index, the Empathy Quotient, and the NEO-FFI Big Five personality model. Multivariable linear regression was performed to assess the association between personality traits and empathy.
ResultsEmpathy scales showed weak and moderate correlation with personality. The strongest correlations were observed between IRI-Fantasy and Openness, and between IRI-Personal Distress and Neuroticism. Gender and specialty preference can modify this relationship. The extreme groups of Empathy Quotient had significant differences in most personality traits.
ConclusionsThis study confirmed that empathy is related to personality. Using three empathy scales allows personalizing the evaluation of different empathy models and its relation with personality. These results can help to design programs to study if some personalized intervention strategies could improve the empathy in medical students.
SUBMITTER: Guilera T