Current Pain and Headache Reports

, Volume 12, Issue 2, pp 108–112 | Cite as

Empathy: Necessary for effective pain management?

  • Raymond C. TaitEmail author


Empathy is a provider attribute that has been a topic of increased clinical interest, particularly as it relates to pain. This article examines various dimensions of the pain and empathy literature: definitions of empathy, research regarding the psychophysiology of empathy for pain, and research related to empathy in psychological and medical care. Research regarding topics broadly related to empathy is also reviewed, including communication skills and patient-centered care. Although this literature supports the clinical value of provider empathy and/or behaviors likely to reflect empathy, little research has explicitly examined empathy in the treatment of pain. Nonetheless, when considered in the broader context, the evidence is sufficient to draw some conclusions regarding approaches to pain care that are likely to reflect and/or elicit provider empathy and are central to effective pain management.


Empathic Concern Emotional Labor Communication Skill Training Interventional Radiologic Procedure Interpersonal Reactivity Index 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Current Medicine Group LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Neurology and PsychiatrySaint Louis University School of MedicineSt. LouisUSA

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