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Correlation between Stress and Empathy in Medical Students As Compared To General Population

Kinjal Mehta, Prakash Patel, Swati Patel, Ajay Pawar.


Objective: To find association between perceived stress and empathy.
Place and duration of study: Community medicine department of SMIMER Medical College, Surat, Gu-jarat, India from August 15 2021 to September 15 2021.
Methodology: Sample size was of total 225. A validated standardized questionnaire was used having three parts i.e part A was related to demographic details of participants. Part B was related to Perceived stress score and Part C was related to evaluation of empathy scores by using the Toronto Empathy Questionnaire. Study group was divided into two groups i.e., Undergraduate medical students and general population. Data was entered and analysed in SPSS and correlation between empathy and perceived stress was calculated by Spearman’s correlation formula and a p-value of < 0.05 was considered significant.
Results: A total of 160 medical undergraduate students and 65 people from general population participated. Following, the data calculated, below average empathy was noted in total 51.1% above average in total 48.9% respondents. High empathic attitude was noted in general population in comparison to other medical undergraduates. the data calculated about perceived stress across all participants, 24.4% reported low stress, 64% moderate stress and 11.6% high stress and we can appreciate that low stress scores were calculated in general population in comparison to medical undergraduate students. A weak negative correlation between empathy and perceived stress was calculated in medical students whereas strong positive correlation between empathy and perceived stress was calculated in general population.
Conclusion: Our study shows a significant proportion of medical students had a comparatively higher stress scores and decreased empathy hence their stress is considered distress whereas general population’s high stress scores were corelating to high empathic attitude, therefore their stress can be considered eustress.

Key words: Perceived stress, Empathy, Medical undergraduates, Students, General Population, TEQ, PSS

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