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Boletim - Academia Paulista de Psicologia

versão impressa ISSN 1415-711X


AGUIAR, Camila Stor de; FORMIGA, Nilton S  e  CANTINILO, Amaury. Personality traits and empathic abilities: a predictive study on medical students. Bol. - Acad. Paul. Psicol. [online]. 2017, vol.37, n.92, pp. 129-138. ISSN 1415-711X.

Some characteristics of physicians have an important effect on the quality of the relationships that they establish with their patients. Among these are empathy and personality traits. The main objective of this study was to investigate the relationship between empathy and personality traits among medical students. The study specifically focused on whether empathy constructs can predict personality traits among medical students. The participants included 197 students from a public Brazilian medical school who completed the following self-reported instruments: Davis's Interpersonal Reactivity Index (IRI) was used to assess empathy through its four constructs (Empathic Concern, Personal Distress, Fantasy and Perspective Taking) and the Big Five Inventory (BFI) was used to investigate personality traits (Neuroticism, Extraversion, Openness, Agreeableness, and Conscientiousness). Regression Analysis was performed, adopting the Enter method to assess the extent to which empathy predicts specific personality traits. A MANOVA was realized to evaluate the associations between empathy and the variables of age, school semester and gender. The results showed that Extraversion is positively predicted by Empathic Concern and negatively predicted by Personal Distress. Agreeableness was found to have positive relations with Empathic Concern and Perspective Taking. Similarly, Neuroticism was found to be positively related to Empathic Concern and Fantasy but negatively related to Perspective Taking. Openness was found to be positively related to Perspective Taking but no relation was found for Conscientiousness. A positive association was found between empathy and the female gender. Among the participants, it was possible to find specific associations between empathy and different personality traits. In the population of this study, female students scored significantly higher on measures of empathy than male students

Palavras-chave : medical students; empathy; personality.

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