Dental students’ empathy levels and opinions about attributes for “good dentist”: a cohort study


  • Funda Gülay Kadioglu Cukurova University


Empathy is fundamental to the physician-patient relationship and influences the clinical outcomes. The aim of this study was to determine the dental students’ empathy levels and to compare their opinions on attributes of a “good dentist”. This cohort research was included 79 dental students volunteering to participate in the study at a public university. The data were collected by the Dökmen’s Empathic Tendency Scale (ETS) and Empathic Skill Scale (ESS). In this study, from the orientation day to the end of the third-year, the dental students’ ETS mean scores (respectively 69.59 and 68.34) and ESS mean scores (respectively 142.53 and 140.00) showed a decline. At the end of the third-year, starting clinical rotations and taking patient responsibility may lead to decrease the empathy levels of students. The findings of our study show that female students have higher empathy tendency and skill scores compared to male students (p<0.001). In the ranking of the attributes required to be a good dentist, empathy was ranked 4th by the first-year students, while final-years students placed empathy in second rank (p<0.05). According to these results, it is possible to claim that the dentist candidates realized that being empathetic is necessary to be a good dentist.


dental ethics, dental students, empathy, good dentist, physician-patient relations