The Jefferson Scale of Empathy

  • Mohammadreza Hojat


  • On the basis of the belief that empathy-measuring instruments which were developed for the general population did not embrace the essence of empathy in the context of health professions education and patient care, we developed a new instrument to specifically measure empathy in that context.

  • This chapter describes the steps taken in the development and psychometric analyses of the Jefferson Scale of Empathy (JSE). The evidence is presented in support of the JSE’s validity (face, content, construct, criterion-related, convergent, and discriminant validities) and reliability (Cronbach’s alpha coefficient in support of internal consistency and test–retest reliability in support of score stability).

  • The significant relationships observed between JSE scores, clinical competence, and patient outcomes can boost the confidence of researchers who are searching for a psychometrically sound instrument for measuring empathy in the context of health professions education and patient care.

  • The general findings on the JSE’s measurement properties in samples of students and practitioners in a variety of health professions disciplines and in different cultures suggest that the instrument can serve as a sound measure of empathy among medical students (S-Version), students in the other health professions (HPS-Version), and practitioners in the health professions including physicians (HP-Version).

  • Further research is needed to investigate the relationship between scores on the JSE and outcomes such as accuracy of diagnosis, patient compliance, reduced risk of malpractice claims, and patient outcomes in different settings and cultures. Furthermore, large-scale research is needed with national samples to develop national norm tables and cutoff scores for the JSE to identify low and high scorers in different populations of health professions students and practitioners.


Jefferson Scale of Empathy (JSE) Validity Reliability Psychometrics Face validity Content validity Construct validity Factor analysis explanatory Factor analysis confirmatory National norms Cutoff scores Latent variable Patient perceptions of physician empathy 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mohammadreza Hojat
    • 1
  1. 1.Sidney Kimmel Medical College Thomas Jefferson UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA

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